An increasing body of research suggests that a number of immune mechanisms play a role in degenerative pathways in Parkinson's disease (PD). In the current work we investigated a posited humoral immune response in this disorder. Sera from PD patients exhibited a significantly enhanced absorbance response on a novel ELISA for anti-melanin antibodies, compared to sera from age-matched control subjects. The enhanced ELISA absorbance response was specific for catecholamine-based melanins and was unrelated to antiparkinsonian dopaminergic medication. Further, the absorbance response was significantly and negatively correlated with disease duration. These data suggest that a specific humoral anti-melanin antibody response is present in PD and is more active in early disease. While the contribution of this novel immune response to the initiation and progression of this disorder is unclear, this finding supports the hypothesis that specific immune responses occurring in PD may respond to therapeutic interventions in this disorder.
Experimental Neurology Vol. 217, Issue 2, p. 297-301