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The Immunomodulatory Effects of MSCs in Managing Parkinson’s Disease

Sailun Tires

Most people assume that Parkinson’s disease is purely a neurological disorder due to its debilitating effects on the nervous system.

However, the immune system also plays a key role in Parkinson’s disease and treatments that support the immune system may be key in managing the disease.

In this article, we’ll explain MSC therapy and its effect on the immune system. We’ll explore how MSCs can help Parkinson’s disease and back up these claims with scientific evidence.

Understanding MSCs and Their Immunomodulatory Properties

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are stem cells extracted from fat tissue, bone marrow, or gum tissue, or the placenta or umbilical cord of a newborn. Clinics like Swiss Medica use MSCs because they are multipotent, which means they can differentiate into multiple cells, such as cells from:

  • fat tissue
  • muscle tissue
  • bone tissue
  • nervous tissue

MSCs also regulate the immune system, and reduce inflammation and immune responses. MSCs also positively affect the function of other immune cells, such as macrophages, T cells and B cells. 

MSCs in the Context of Parkinson’s Disease

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a decline in neurons in the substantia nigra, the region of the brain that produces dopamine. People with Parkinson’s disease have a dopamine deficiency, which results in symptoms including:

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Tremors
  • Loss of automatic movements
  • Shaking
  • Impaired balance and coordination

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, symptoms become more serious. For example, patients may have difficulty talking or walking.

How MSCs help

During a Parkinsons disease stem cell transplant MSCs travel to the damaged tissues to repair and replace damaged neurons and reduce neuroinflammation. MSCs can help replace lost dopamine neurons and can preserve existing dopamine neurons by delivering growth factors to the brain.

While Parkinson’s disease is traditionally thought of as a neurodegenerative disease characterized by dopamine deficiency, new research suggests that immune system dysfunction may also play a role in the disease. Therefore, MSCs also help improve Parkinson’s through modulation of the immune system. 

By modulating the immune system and restoring its overall function, patients with Parkinson’s can see a stabilization or even remission of their disease. MSCs can also restore gut microbiota, which can positively affect not only the functioning of the immune system but also dopamine production.

MSC therapy is becoming one of the best Parkinson’s disease treatments due to its effectiveness and lack of side effects. Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease and other treatment methods, such as medication, come with heavy side effects. 

Research and Evidence

MSC therapy is a promising treatment for Parkinson’s and there is already some research that shows the immunomodulating properties of MSCs can help Parkinson’s patients. Animal studies point to a positive effect of MSCs on gut biota, which in turn can help modulate the immune system.

Another study shows that MSCs can modulate inflammation and facilitate tissue repair to treat neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s.

Research also shows that MSCs travel to the site of injury and release a range of protective neurotrophic factors and growth factors with anti-inflammatory effects, thereby treating Parkinson’s. 

One of the most common pathological markers of Parkinson’s is α-Synuclein. This protein can accumulate in the brain and trigger a neuroinflammatory response. Research shows that MSCs reduce the burden of α-Synuclein through several mechanisms, thus regulating neuroimmune function in people with Parkinson’s.

Challenges and Future Directions

One challenge with MSC therapy for Parkinson’s is determining the correct source for MSCs because the neurogenerative benefits of MSCs may depend on the source. For example, MSCs from adipose tissues may be more efficient at forming synaptic structures in people with Parkinson’s

Another challenge of MSC therapy is the small risk of immune rejection with allogeneic MSC therapy. Most of the studies so far have been on animal models, and the number of trial participants has been low. Therefore, for widespread adoption of this treatment there needs to be more research that demonstrates safety and efficacy.

However, MSC therapy may be the most promising therapy for neurodegenerative diseases that are characterized by abnormal protein expression, such as Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, research and application for this therapy will continue to grow.

In conclusion

MSCs therapy is becoming known as one of the best Parkinson’s disease treatments not only because of its ability to repair damaged neurons, but also for its immunomodulating effects. 

MSCs release growth factors with anti-inflammatory effects. They also restore gut biota, which contributes to healthy immune function. MSC therapy can also reduce the burden of toxic proteins like α-Synuclein. All of these actions combined stabilize the immune system, which can reduce symptoms and slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s.


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