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CSF biomarker levels an indicator of early Parkinson’s disease

CSF biomarker levels an indicator of early Parkinson's diseaseAnalysis of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) from patients with early Parkinson’s disease led to the identification of a group of proteins whose concentrations correlated with the severity of the disease and may have diagnostic and prognostic potential.

Investigators at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, USA) worked with CSF specimens obtained from 102 participants in the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) – 63 with early, untreated Parkinson’s disease and 39 healthy controls. CSF samples were evaluated for levels of five biomarkers: amyloid beta, total tau protein, phosphorylated tau protein, alpha-synuclein, and the ratio of total tau to amyloid beta.

The CSF biomarkers were measured by INNO-BIA AlzBio3 immunoassay (Abeta1-42, T-tau protein, and P-tau181) provided by Innogenetics Inc. (Alpharetta, GA, USA) or by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (alpha-synuclein). Clinical features including diagnosis, demographic characteristics, motor, neuropsychiatric, and cognitive assessments were systematically evaluated according to the PPMI study protocol.

Results revealed that patients with early Parkinson’s disease had lower levels of the biomarkers amyloid beta, tau protein and alpha-synuclein in their spinal fluid. Furthermore, those with lower concentrations of tau protein and alpha-synuclein had greater motor dysfunction. Early Parkinson’s patients with low levels of amyloid beta and tau protein were more likely to be classified as having the postural instability-gait disturbance- dominant (PIGD) motor type of disease, where falling, freezing, and walking difficulties are common.

“Biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease such as these could help us diagnose patients earlier, and we have now shown that the simultaneous measurement of a variety of neurodegenerative disease proteins is valuable,” said senior author Dr. Leslie M. Shaw, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Testing of CSF for Parkinson’s disease biomarkers is still in the research phase, and it will continue to be evaluated and validated with a greater number of PPMI participants.


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