Rate of cell death in parkinsonism indicates active neuropathological process

Ann Neurol. 1988 Oct;24(4):574-6. doi: 10.1002/ana.410240415.


It has been hypothesized that idiopathic parkinsonism might be due to age-related attrition of dopamine neurons occurring long after an initial acute episode. We present evidence against this hypothesis, based on our finding of at least six times as many HLA-DR-positive microglia phagocytosing dopamine neurons in parkinsonian brains as in control brains. This difference indicates an active pathological process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cell Count
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Glycoproteins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / physiopathology*
  • Phagocytosis*
  • Substantia Nigra / analysis
  • Substantia Nigra / pathology
  • Substantia Nigra / physiopathology*


  • Glycoproteins
  • Dopamine