B lymphocyte responses in Parkinson's disease and their possible significance in disease progression.
Scott KM., Chong YT., Park S., Wijeyekoon RS., Hayat S., Mathews RJ., Fitzpatrick Z., Tyers P., Wright G., Whitby J., Barker RA., Hu MT., Williams-Gray CH., Clatworthy MR.
Inflammation contributes to Parkinson's disease pathogenesis. We hypothesized that B lymphocytes are involved in Parkinson's disease progression. We measured antibodies to alpha-synuclein and tau in serum from patients with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder (n = 79), early Parkinson's disease (n = 50) and matched controls (n = 50). Rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder cases were stratified by risk of progression to Parkinson's disease (low risk = 30, high risk = 49). We also measured B-cell activating factor of the tumour necrosis factor receptor family, C-reactive protein and total immunoglobulin G. We found elevated levels of antibodies to alpha-synuclein fibrils in rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder patients at high risk of Parkinson's disease conversion (ANOVA, P < 0.001) and lower S129D peptide-specific antibodies in those at low risk (ANOVA, P < 0.001). An early humoral response to alpha-synuclein is therefore detectable prior to the development of Parkinson's disease. Peripheral B lymphocyte phenotyping using flow cytometry in early Parkinson's disease patients and matched controls (n = 41 per group) revealed reduced B cells in Parkinson's disease, particularly in those at higher risk of developing an early dementia [t(3) = 2.87, P = 0.01]. Patients with a greater proportion of regulatory B cells had better motor scores [F(4,24) = 3.612, P = 0.019], suggesting they have a protective role in Parkinson's disease. In contrast, B cells isolated from Parkinson's disease patients at higher risk of dementia had greater cytokine (interleukin 6 and interleukin 10) responses following in vitro stimulation. We assessed peripheral blood lymphocytes in alpha-synuclein transgenic mouse models of Parkinson's disease: they also had reduced B cells, suggesting this is related to alpha-synuclein pathology. In a toxin-based mouse model of Parkinson's disease, B-cell deficiency or depletion resulted in worse pathological and behavioural outcomes, supporting the conclusion that B cells play an early protective role in dopaminergic cell loss. In conclusion, we found changes in the B-cell compartment associated with risk of disease progression in rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder (higher alpha-synuclein antibodies) and early Parkinson's disease (lower levels of B lymphocytes that were more reactive to stimulation). Regulatory B cells play a protective role in a mouse model, potentially by attenuating inflammation and dopaminergic cell loss. B cells are therefore likely to be involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease, albeit in a complex way, and thus warrant consideration as a therapeutic target.