Cerebrospinal fluid antibodies to coronavirus in patients with Parkinson's disease

Mov Disord. 1992;7(2):153-8. doi: 10.1002/mds.870070210.


The etiology of Parkinson's disease remains unknown, and a search for environmental agents continues. In 1985, Fishman induced infection of the basal ganglia by a coronavirus in mice. Although coronavirus is recognized primarily as a respiratory pathogen in humans, its affinity for the basal ganglia led us to investigate its possible role in human Parkinson's disease. The cerebrospinal fluid of normal controls (CTL) (n = 18), and patients with Parkinson's disease (PD (n = 20) and other neurological disease (OND) (n = 29) was analyzed in a blinded manner by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [measurements in optical density (OD) units] for antibody response to four coronavirus antigens: mouse hepatitis virus JHM (J) and A59 (A), and human coronavirus 229E (E) and OC43 (O). When compared with CTL, PD patients had an elevated (p less than 0.05) mean OD response to J (0.0856 vs. 0.0207) and A (0.1722 vs. 0.0636). Response (p greater than 0.05) to O (0.0839 vs. 0.0071) was greater than that to E (0.1261 vs. 0.0743). When compared to OND, PD patients had an elevated mean OD response to J (0.0856 vs. 0.0267, p less than 0.05). Responses (p greater than 0.05) to A (0.1722 vs. 0.0929) and O (0.0839 vs. 0.0446) were greater than that to E (0.1261 vs. 0.0946). These results suggest that there may be an association between coronavirus and PD.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Antibody Specificity / immunology
  • Coronaviridae / immunology*
  • Coronaviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / immunology
  • Parkinson Disease / immunology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Antibodies, Viral