University of Florida neuroscientists have developed a new assay, or test, to detect minute amounts of a protein called tyrosine hydroxylase in blood immune cells of Parkinson’s disease patients, a key finding to aid in the development of a blood test to help diagnose and guide treatment for the neurodegenerative disorder. The findings were published in the journal npj Parkinson’s Disease.
In a study using blood samples of patients with Parkinson’s disease and a control group, the research team, led by graduate research assistant Adithya Gopinath and Habibeh Khoshbouei, Pharm.D., Ph.D., unexpectedly observed that monocytes of people with Parkinson’s expressed significantly greater amounts of tyrosine hydroxylase, or TH, per monocyte, a type of white blood cell, than those of healthy controls, according to the paper.
In addition, the team reported that an inflammatory substance called tumor necrosis factor, or TNF, appears to be linked to a rise in TH expression in human monocytes. TNF has previously been shown to be increased in the brain and peripheral circulation of people with Parkinson’s disease.
Collaborating with the labs of Malú Tansey, Ph.D., co-director of UF’s Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease, and Michael Okun, M.D., executive director of the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health, the team further described that by inhibiting TNF with an experimental drug, XPro1595, TH levels in monocytes return to normal, thus showing a link between inflammation and TH levels in monocytes. XPro1595, or pegipanermin, was co-invented by Tansey and is currently being tested separately in a Phase 1b clinical trial led by INmune Bio and funded by the Alzheimer’s Association.Learn more about UF Neuroscientists Discover Biomarker With Potential To Aid Parkinson’s Diagnosis.