Lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG3) protein as a possible therapeutic target for Parkinson’s disease: Molecular mechanisms connecting neuroinflammation to α-synuclein spreading pathology

Efthalia Angelopoulou, Yam Nath Paudel, Chiara Villa, Mohd Farooq Shaikh, Christina Piperi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder without any objective biomarker available to date. Increasing evidence highlights the critical role of neuroinflammation, including T cell responses, and spreading of aggregated α-synuclein in PD progression. Lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG3) belongs to the immunoglobulin (Ig) superfamily expressed by peripheral immune cells, microglia and neurons and plays a key role in T cell regulation. The role of LAG3 has been extensively investigated in several human cancers, whereas until recently, the role of LAG3 in the central nervous system (CNS) has been largely unknown. Accumulating evidence highlights the potential role of LAG3 in PD pathogenesis, mainly by binding to α-synuclein fibrils and affecting its endocytosis and intercellular transmission, which sheds more light on the connection between immune dysregulation and α-synuclein spreading pathology. Serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) soluble LAG3 (sLAG3) levels have been demonstrated to be potentially associated with PD development and clinical phenotype, suggesting that sLAG3 could represent an emerging PD biomarker. Specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the LAG3 gene have been also related to PD occurrence especially in the female population, enlightening the pathophysiological background of gender-related PD clinical differences. Given also the ongoing clinical trials investigating various LAG3-targeting strategies in human diseases, new opportunities are being developed for PD treatment research. In this review, we discuss recent preclinical and clinical evidence on the role of LAG3 in PD pathogenesis and biomarker potential, aiming to elucidate its underlying molecular mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number86
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Biomarker
  • LAG3
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • α-synuclein

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