Is Parkinson's disease an autoimmune disorder of endogenous vasoactive neuropeptides?
- Donald R Staines
- Medical hypotheses
Major advances have been made in understanding the relatively novel group of vasoactive (vasodilatory) neuropeptides (VNs) in humans. VNs comprise a novel but expanding group of substances having immunoregulation, inflammation modulation, neurotransmitter, neurotrophic, hormonal and metabolic functions. These substances may control gene expression for mRNA for themselves and their receptors. They have complex relationships with gaseous and other neurotransmitters and xenobiotic substances. Theoretical arguments have implicated these substances in autoimmune phenomena resulting in fatigue-related conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), fibromyalgia (FM) and Gulf War syndrome (GWS) but remain unproven. As well as possibly spontaneous onset, the precipitating causes of VN autoimmune dysfunction are likely to be a combination of genetic predisposition, infection and xenobiotic substances. Therapeutic and preventive possibilities for postulated VN autoimmune conditions will be influenced by the complex patholophysiology underpinning them. Some speculative possibilities are VN substitution/replacement, preservation of biological effect, epigenetic DNA modifications, plasma exchange, anti-cholinesterases, e.g., pyridostigmine, corticosteroids and other drug treatments, thymectomy, intravenous immunoglobulin and anti-idiotype antibodies, and CpG/DNA vaccines. Prevention and treatment of possible VN autoimmune fatigue-related disorders may prove to be important areas for future research and development.