Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the progressive degeneration of midbrain neurons (MBNs). Recent evidence suggests contribution of the adaptive immune system in PD. Here, we show a role for human T lymphocytes as cell death inducers of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived MBNs in sporadic PD. Higher Th17 frequencies were found in the blood of PD patients and increased numbers of T lymphocytes were detected in postmortem PD brain tissues. We modeled this finding using autologous co-cultures of activated T lymphocytes and iPSC-derived MBNs of sporadic PD patients and controls. After co-culture with T lymphocytes or the addition of IL-17, PD iPSC-derived MBNs underwent increased neuronal death driven by upregulation of IL-17 receptor (IL-17R) and NFκB activation. Blockage of IL-17 or IL-17R, or the addition of the FDA-approved anti-IL-17 antibody, secukinumab, rescued the neuronal death. Our findings indicate a critical role for IL-17-producing T lymphocytes in sporadic PD.
Keywords: Sporadic Parkinson’s disease; T lymphocytes; Th17 cells; human autologous co-culture; neuroinflammation.
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