New research into Parkinson's disease could further the development of new treatments and therapies for those with the condition.
A study conducted at the University of Florida has found that a brain pathway could be damaged by the 'friendly fire' of the body's immune response.
According to the study published in journal Nature Neuroscience, the pathway is responsible for the execution of smooth, coordinated movements.
It has long been suspected that exposure to viruses and other environmental factors could trigger Parkinson's-like symptoms.
Dr Todd Golde of the institute said: "When a certain master protein that stimulates the immune system and antiviral response is expressed at high levels, it causes neuronal loss primarily in the nigrostriatal tract, thereby creating vulnerability to Parkinson's and similar movement disorders."
In other Parkinson's research, scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine looked into why the condition specifically damages dopamine-producing nerve cells.
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