T cells from patients with Parkinson's disease recognize α-synuclein peptides
Epitopes derived from two regions of α-synuclein elicit immune responses in patients with Parkinson's disease, involving IL-5-secreting CD4+ T cells, as well as IFNγ-secreting CD8+ cytotoxic T cells.
Genetic studies have shown the association of Parkinson's disease with alleles of the major histocompatibility complex1,2,3. Here we show that a defined set of peptides that are derived from α-synuclein, a protein aggregated in Parkinson's disease4, act as antigenic epitopes displayed by these alleles and drive helper and cytotoxic T cell responses in patients with Parkinson's disease. These responses may explain the association of Parkinson's disease with specific major histocompatibility complex alleles.