Inflammation is a pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Chronic pro-inflammatory responses contribute to the loss of neurons in the neurodegenerative process. The present study was undertaken to define the peripheral innate and adaptive immune contributions to inflammation in patients with PD. Immunophenotyping revealed a shift of peripheral myeloid and lymphoid cells towards a pro-inflammatory phenotype. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) were reduced in number, and their suppression of T responder proliferation decreased. The PD Tregs did not suppress activated pro-inflammatory myeloid cells. Ex vivo expansion of Tregs from patients with PD restored and enhanced their suppressive functions while expanded Tregs displayed increased expression of foxp3, il2ra (CD25), nt5e (CD73), il10, il13, ctla4, pdcd1 (PD1), and gzmb. Collectively, these findings documented a shift towards a pro-inflammatory peripheral immune response in patients with PD; the loss of Treg suppressive functions may contribute significantly to this response, supporting PD as a disorder with extensive systemic pro-inflammatory responses. The restoration and enhancement of Treg suppressive functions following ex vivo expansion may provide a potential cell therapeutic approach for patients with PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number41
Journalnpj Parkinson's Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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