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Influence of Inflammation on Symptoms and Progression of Parkinson's Disease

Study Rationale:
Symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) are different for different people, suggesting a strong influence of genetic and/or non-genetic factors, including inflammation. While many studies indicate that inflammation is involved in PD, it is still unclear whether it always accompanies the disease. It is also unclear whether inflammation causes Parkinson's or supports its progression.

We hypothesize that inflammatory profile -- features of inflammation -- in individuals can be determined through genetic and biochemical testing and that this profile determines the disease subtype and the rate of disease progression.

Study Design:
This study includes two groups of participants: 300 people with Parkinson's and 100 healthy people. By means of genetic testing, we will determine each participant's individual inflammatory profile and divide all participants into groups according to the results of the testing. We will also measure levels of inflammation-related molecules in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid and analyze these in relation to the symptoms and rate of disease progression.

This approach will allow us to differentiate between disease- and aging-related findings. It will also allow us to assess the ability of specific features of inflammation, individually or together, to identify PD subtypes and predict the rate of disease progression.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson's Disease:
If some PD subtypes are indeed defined by inflammation, individuals with a prominent inflammatory profile will be prime candidates for clinical trials of anti-inflammatory or immune-modulating therapeutics. This would be an important step toward personalized treatment based on disease features.

Next Steps for Development:
This study may lead to a clinical trial of an established anti-inflammatory compound as a treatment for Parkinson's disease that prevents, slows or halts disease progression.


  • Kathrin Brockmann, MD

    Tuebingen Germany

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