Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder with around 32 new cases being diagnosed every day in Australia. The prevalence of PD is projected to increase significantly in the coming decades due to an ageing population and the lack of effective disease-modifying therapies. Therefore there is an urgent need for developing therapeutics that can slow or halt disease progression in PD as well diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers that would enable earlier diagnosis.This proposed studies will systematically quantify and characterise the gene and protein expression profiles of all major inflammasomes and their respective downstream secreted mediators in biofluids (blood, saliva and urine) and PBMCs isolated from PD patients and age- matched controls using the following specific aims:

  • Aim 1: To systematically quantify the levels of immune activation markers, including inflammasome components, in biofluids from PD patients and healthy controls.
  • Aim 2: Determine if circulating immune cells isolated from PD patients are differentially primed for immune and inflammasome activation by protein aggregates and to evaluate the efficacy of prioritised repurposed drugs to block inflammasome activation in cultured patient immune cells.
  • Aim 3: Correlate inflammatory signatures with relevant PD clinical/physiological measures.