Is Parkinson’s disease related to autoimmune diseases? Experts answer!

An expert panel from China has corroborated the link between Parkinson’s (PD) and autoimmune diseases (AIDs) based on the systematic review and metanalysis conducted for the published studies till December 2022. The study findings have been published in the recent issue of Frontiers in Immunology.

Li and co-workers considered a total of 46 observational studies involving 752, 488 subjects with AIDs, 121,155 with PD, and 13,402,821 controls. The researchers noted a 55% increased risk of PD combined with AIDs among study subjects. Moreover, bullous pemphigoid (odds ratio [OR]=2.67, 95% CI: 2.15–3.31), inflammatory bowel disease (OR=1.30, 95% CI: 1.18–1.45), Crohn’s disease (OR=1.30, 95% CI: 1.20–1.42), ulcerative colitis (OR=1.31, 95% CI: 1.14–1.50), Sjogren’s syndrome (OR=1.61, 95% CI: 1.24–2.09), and Graves’ disease (OR=1.45, 95% CI: 1.24–1.70) were also found to be associated with increased risk for PD.

A 2022 population-based cohort study by Latapi and team have also found a link between inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, and an elevated risk for PD. In addition, the relation between Sjogren syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, and rheumatoid arthritis with PD was also established. They also found genetic variants linked to PD and autoimmune conditions. The risk of PD was found to be reduced in patients treated with immunosuppressant medication. However, this review of studies reported the heterogeneity between PD and immune system changes.

The coexistence of PD with AIDs should be considered in high-risk groups by clinicians. It is also important to determine whether the targeted medications for PD trigger AIDs.


  1. Li M, Wan J, Xu Z, Tang B. The association between Parkinson’s disease and autoimmune diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Immunology. 2023;14.
  2. Gonzalez-Latapi P, Marras C. Epidemiological Evidence for an Immune Component of Parkinson’s Disease. Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. 2022 Jan 1;12(s1):S29–43. 10.3233/JPD-223180