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In general, your immune system does a truly amazing job of keeping you healthy and the dangerous pathogenic world around us at bay.
Trillions of cells constantly monitoring for viruses and other illness-causing agents, and ruthlessly disposing of any that they actually find. But sometimes your immune system can get a little carried away with this task and researchers have developed medications that turn down the volume of immune system activity.
Recently, researchers have reported new data that points towards a particular class of immune cells (lymphocytes) in Parkinson’s, and they have also identified a pathway that could be targeted therapeutically.
In today’s post, we will discuss what lymphocytes are and consider new data highlighting an immunomodulation treatment avenue that could be explored in Parkinson’s.
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Your hematopoietic system. Source: Wikipedia
The process of hematopoiesis (or blood formation) is absolutely fascinating.
You start off with a single, multi-potential hematopoietic stem cell. This is called a hemocytoblast (it’s the big cell in middle of the image below):
A hemocytoblast. Source: Pinterest
Given enough time, this single cell will give rise to an entire blood system, made up of many of different types of cells (as displayed in the schematic above) with very specific functions that are required for us to live normal lives.
It is a remarkable achievement of biology.
Understand that at any moment in time your blood system will contain 20-30 trillion cells (in the average human body). And as the image near the top of the post suggests, there are quite a few branches of potential cell types that these blood stem cells can generate.
Very interesting, but what does this have to do with Parkinson’s?