A common anti-inflammatory therapy may help reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease, Mount Sinai researchers report
Study shows potential link between Parkinson’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease, suggests anti-TNFα therapy may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease
A recent study from researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai provides new insights into a link between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and Parkinson’s disease, and may have significant implications for the treatment and prevention of Parkinson’s disease.
The recent study, published in JAMA Neurology, shows that individuals with IBD are at a 28% higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than those without IBD. However, if they are treated with anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (anti-TNFα) therapy, a monoclonal antibody that is commonly used to control inflammation in IBD patients, then their risk of developing Parkinson’s disease goes down significantly, and becomes even lower than that in the general population.
These new insights will allow for better screening of IBD patients for Parkinson’s disease, given that IBD onset usually precedes that of Parkinson’s disease by decades, and they also offer evidence to support exploring anti-TNFα therapy to prevent Parkinson’s disease in at-risk individuals.
While previous research had shown genetic and functional connections between IBD and Parkinson’s disease, clinical evidence linking the two has been scarce. The authors of the study previously identified a number of genetic variants that contributed to either an increased risk of both Parkinson’s disease and of Crohn’s disease, a type of IBD, or a decreased risk of both diseases, which prompted them to further study the co-occurrence of the two diseases.
“Systemic inflammation is a major component of IBD, and it’s also thought to contribute to the neuronal inflammation found in Parkinson’s disease,” explained Inga Peter, Professor in the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at Mount Sinai and lead investigator in the study. “We wanted to determine if anti-TNFα therapy, could mitigate a patient’s risk in developing Parkinson’s disease.”
The Mount Sinai team found a 78% reduction in the incidence of Parkinson’s disease among IBD patients who were treated with anti-TNFα therapy when compared to those who were not.
It was previously thought that anti-TNFα therapies had limited effects on the central nervous system, the site where molecular mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease are found, because the large molecules in the anti-TNFα compounds cannot independently pass through the blood brain barrier. The outcomes of this study suggest that it may not be necessary for the drug to pass through the blood brain barrier to treat or prevent inflammation within the central nervous system, or that the blood-brain barrier in patients with IBD may be compromised, allowing the large molecules of the compound to pass through.
Parkinson’s disease ranks among the most common late-life neurodegenerative diseases, affecting approximately 1-2% of people 60 years or older. “Current therapies for Parkinson’s disease focus on ameliorating symptoms,” said Peter, “Our findings provide promising insights that support further investigations into how reducing systemic inflammation could help treat or prevent Parkinson’s disease.”
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About the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is an international leader in medical and scientific training, biomedical research, and patient care. It is the medical school for the Mount Sinai Health System, which includes seven hospital campuses, and has more than 5,000 faculty and nearly 2,000 students, residents and fellows. The School is made up of 36 multidisciplinary research, educational, and clinical institutes and 33 academic departments. It ranks 13th among U.S. medical schools for NIH funding and 2nd in research dollars per principal investigator among U.S. medical schools by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
The School was named 4th among “World’s Most Innovative Companies in Data Science” by Fast Company magazine in 2016. For more information, visit http://icahn.mssm.edu
About the Mount Sinai Health System
Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.
Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties.