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FASEB J. 2008 Oct;22(10):3509-14. doi: 10.1096/fj.08-110148. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

Cerebellar alpha-synuclein levels are decreased in Parkinson's disease and do not correlate with SNCA polymorphisms associated with disease in a Swedish material.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Retzius väg 8, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


Alterations of brain and plasma alpha-synuclein levels and SNCA gene variability have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). We therefore measured alpha-synuclein protein levels in postmortem PD and control cerebellum tissue using Western blot and investigated whether the levels correlated to SNCA genotype. We found markedly decreased alpha-synuclein levels in PD patients (n=16) compared to gender- and age-matched controls (n=14; P=0.004) normalized to alpha-tubulin. We also performed an association study of the noncoding polymorphisms rs2737029 (A/G) and rs356204 (A/G) (intron 4), and of rs356219 (T/C) (3'-region) of SNCA in a Swedish PD case-control material. Using a two-sided chi(2) test, we found significant association of rs2737029 (P=0.003; chi(2)=9.07) and rs356204 (P=0.048; chi(2)=3.91) with disease, strengthening the involvement of SNCA polymorphisms in sporadic PD. Stratification of the human postmortem brain material by genotype of the three investigated polymorphisms, did not indicate any influence of genotype on alpha-synuclein protein levels when comparing PD with controls. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that the investigated Parkinson patients have markedly reduced levels of alpha-synuclein in cerebellum, and that this reduction is general, rather then correlated to the investigated polymorphisms, although two of the polymorphisms also associated with disease in a Swedish material.

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