In a recent study, researchers from Mount Sinai found a link between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and Parkinson’s disease.
The finding shows that people with IBD are at a 28% higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than those without IBD.
When these people were treated with anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (anti-TNFα) therapy, their risk of Parkinson’s disease goes down and becomes even lower than that in the general population.
The therapy is a monoclonal antibody that is commonly used to control inflammation in IBD patients.
The result may help develop treatment and prevention of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease ranks among the most common late-life neurodegenerative diseases, affecting approximately 1-2% of people 60 years or older.
IBD onset usually precedes that of Parkinson’s disease by decades.
While previous research had shown genetic and functional connections between IBD and Parkinson’s disease, clinical evidence linking the two has been scarce.
Systemic inflammation is a major component of IBD, and it’s also thought to contribute to the neuronal inflammation found in Parkinson’s disease.
In the study, the Mount Sinai team found a 78% reduction in the incidence of Parkinson’s disease among IBD patients who were treated with anti-TNFα therapy when compared to those who were not.
The finding suggests that it may not be necessary for the drug to pass through the blood-brain barrier to treat or prevent inflammation.
Current therapies for Parkinson’s disease focus on ameliorating symptoms.
But their findings provide promising insights that support further research into how reducing systemic inflammation could help treat or prevent Parkinson’s disease.
The study is published in JAMA Neurology.
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Source: JAMA Neurology.