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Parkinson's disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders, yet the etiology of the majority of its cases remains unknown. In this manuscript, relevant published evidence is interpreted and integrated into a comprehensive hypothesis on the nature, origin, and inter-cellular mode of propagation of sporadic PD. We propose to characterize sporadic PD as a pathological deviation in the global gene expression program of a cell: the PD expression-state, or PD-state for short. A universal cell-generic state, the PD-state deviation would be particularly damaging in a neuronal context, ultimately leading to neuron death and the ensuing observed clinical signs. We review why ageing associated accumulated damage caused by oxidative stress in mitochondria could be the trigger for a primordial cell to shift to the PD-state. We propose that hematopoietic cells could be the first to acquire the PD-state, at hematopoiesis, from the disruption in reactive oxygen species homeostasis that arises with age in the hematopoietic stem-cell niche. We argue that cellular ageing is nevertheless unlikely to explain the shift to the PD-state of all the subsequently affected cells in a patient, thus indicating the existence of a distinct mechanism of cellular propagation of the PD-state. We highlight recently published findings on the inter-cellular exchange of mitochondrial DNA and the ability of mitochondrial DNA to modulate the cellular global gene expression state and propose this could form the basis for the inter-cellular transmission of the PD-state.
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