Dopamine receptor agonists and L-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) counteract dopamine loss in the striatum and are therefore used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD). T-Lymphocytes express some features of the dopaminergic system, and their function or activation might be regulated by dopaminergic treatments. Two-dimensional electrophoresis of total protein extract from T-lymphocytes was performed to identify therapy-induced proteome changes in T-cells of 17 patients with PD. Specific protein level alterations were further validated by Western blotting. Of 17 enrolled patients, 11 were treated with different doses of L-DOPA; in this group, we found that the levels of two spots, corresponding to ATP synthase subunit β and proteasome subunit β type-2, correlated linearly with the L-DOPA daily dose. Moreover, we identified seven proteins (prolidase, actin-related protein 2, F-actin-capping protein subunit β, tropomyosin α-3 chain, proteasome activator complex subunit 1, peroxiredoxin 6, and a glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase isoform) whose levels were significantly different in patients treated with dopamine agonists. These findings demonstrate that dopaminergic stimulation has important effects on T-cell proteome in patients under long-term treatment. Therefore, therapies acting on the dopaminergic system may have additional effects on the immune system.
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