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Dr. Okun

Post of the Week: New Study on a Blood Test for Parkinson's Disease

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Dear forum members,


Though this technology and approach have a long way to go, this is a very interesting study by Dr. Allsop and colleagues who have been attempting to develop a blood test for PD. The approach is far from perfect, and there are many methodological issues that will need to be addressed. The sample size was small, and there may be many diseases and conditions that lead to elevated levels of phosphorylated alpha synuclein. It is however important for the PD community to be aware of these efforts. Here is the exerpt from their article (abstract) which appeared in FASEBJ.


ABSTRACT PD is characterized by the presence of Lewy bodies containing phos- phorylated and aggregated ????-synuclein (????-syn). ????-Syn is present in human body fluids, including blood plasma, and is a potential biomarker for PD. Immunoassays for total and oligomeric forms of both normal and phos- phorylated (at Ser-129) ????-syn have been used to assay plasma samples from a longitudinal cohort of 32 pa- tients with PD (sampled at mo 0, 1, 2, 3), as well as single plasma samples from a group of 30 healthy control participants. The levels of ????-syn in plasma varied greatly between individuals, but were remarkably consistent over time within the same individual with PD. The mean level of phospho-????-syn was found to be higher (P????0.053) in the PD samples than the controls, whereas this was not the case for total ????-syn (P???? 0.244), oligo-????-syn (P????0.221), or oligo-phospho-????-syn (P????0.181). Immunoblots of plasma revealed bands (at 21, 24, and 50–60 kDa) corresponding to phosphory- lated ????-syn. Thus, phosphorylated ????-syn can be de- tected in blood plasma and shows more promise as a diagnostic marker than the nonphosphorylated protein. Longitudinal studies undertaken over a more extended time period will be required to determine whether ????-syn can act as a marker of disease progression.— Foulds, P. G., Mitchell, J. D., Parker, A., Turner, R., Green, G., Diggle, P., Hasegawa, M., Taylor, M., Mann, D., Allsop, D. Phosphorylated ????-synuclein can be de- tected in blood plasma and is potentially a useful biomarker for Parkinson’s disease. FASEB J. 25, 4127–4137 (2011). www.fasebj.org

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