From the article:
Suspecting that the LRRK2 mutations might be acting outside of the brain, the researchers used an agent – the outer shell of bacteria, called lippopolysaccharide (LPS) – that causes an immune reaction. LPS itself does not pass into the brain, nor do the immune cells it activates, which made it ideal for testing whether this second hit was acting directly in the brain.
When the researchers gave the bacterial fragments to the mice carrying the two most common LRRK2 gene mutations, the immune reaction became a “cytokine storm,” with inflammatory mediators rising to levels that 3-5 times higher than a normal reaction to LPS. These inflammatory mediators were produced by T and B immune cells expressing the LRRK2 mutation.
Despite the fact that LPS did not cross the blood-brain barrier, the researchers showed that the elevated cytokines were able to enter the brain, creating an environment that caused the microglia to activate pathologically and destroy the brain region involved in movement.