Scientific publications

AT1 receptor autoantibodies mediate effects of metabolic syndrome on dopaminergic vulnerability

Dec 16, 2022 | Magazine: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity

Maria A Pedrosa 1, Carmen M Labandeira 2, Rita Valenzuela 1, Aloia Quijano 3, Mariña Sanchez-Andrade 4, Juan A Suarez-Quintanilla 5, Jose L Lanciego 6, Jose L Labandeira-Garcia 7, Ana I Rodriguez-Perez 8


The metabolic syndrome has been associated to chronic peripheral inflammation and related with neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, including Parkinson's disease. However, the responsible mechanisms are unclear. Previous studies have involved the brain renin-angiotensin system in progression of Parkinson's disease and the angiotensin receptor type 1 (AT1) has been recently revealed as a major marker of dopaminergic vulnerability in humans. Dysregulation of tissue renin-angiotensin system is a key common mechanism for all major components of metabolic syndrome. Circulating AT1 agonistic autoantibodies have been observed in several inflammation-related peripheral processes, and activation of AT1 receptors of endothelial cells, dopaminergic neurons and glial cells have been observed to disrupt endothelial blood -brain barrier and induce neurodegeneration, respectively.

Using a rat model, we observed that metabolic syndrome induces overactivity of nigral pro-inflammatory renin-angiotensin system axis, leading to increase in oxidative stress and neuroinflammation and enhancing dopaminergic neurodegeneration, which was inhibited by treatment with AT1 receptor blockers (ARBs). In rats, metabolic syndrome induced the increase in circulating levels of LIGHT and other major pro-inflammatory cytokines, and 27-hydroxycholesterol. Furthermore, the rats showed a significant increase in serum levels of proinflammatory AT1 and angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) autoantibodies, which correlated with levels of several metabolic syndrome parameters. We also found AT1 and ACE2 autoantibodies in the CSF of these rats.

Effects of circulating autoantibodies were confirmed by chronic infusion of AT1 autoantibodies, which induced blood-brain barrier disruption, an increase in the pro-inflammatory renin-angiotensin system activity in the substantia nigra and a significant enhancement in dopaminergic neuron death in two different rat models of Parkinson's disease. Observations in the rat models, were analyzed in a cohort of parkinsonian and non-parkinsonian patients with or without metabolic syndrome. Non-parkinsonian patients with metabolic syndrome showed significantly higher levels of AT1 autoantibodies than non-parkinsonian patients without metabolic syndrome.

However, there was no significant difference between parkinsonian patients with metabolic syndrome or without metabolic syndrome, which showed higher levels of AT1 autoantibodies than non-parkinsonian controls. This is consistent with our recent studies, showing significant increase of AT1 and ACE2 autoantibodies in parkinsonian patients, which was related to dopaminergic degeneration and neuroinflammation. Altogether may lead to a vicious circle enhancing the progression of the disease that may be inhibited by strategies against production of these autoantibodies or AT1 receptor blockers (ARBs).

CITA DEL ARTÍCULO Brain Behav Immun. 2023 Feb:108:255-268. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2022.12.009. Epub 2022 Dec 16.