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PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e22225. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022225. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

Assessment of α-synuclein secretion in mouse and human brain parenchyma.

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Division of Basic Neurosciences, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, Athens, Greece.


Genetic, biochemical, and animal model studies strongly suggest a central role for α-synuclein in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. α-synuclein lacks a signal peptide sequence and has thus been considered a cytosolic protein. Recent data has suggested that the protein may be released from cells via a non-classical secretory pathway and may therefore exert paracrine effects in the extracellular environment. However, proof that α-synuclein is actually secreted into the brain extracellular space in vivo has not been obtained. We developed a novel highly sensitive ELISA in conjugation with an in vivo microdialysis technique to measure α-synuclein in brain interstitial fluid. We show for the first time that α-synuclein is readily detected in the interstitial fluid of both α-synuclein transgenic mice and human patients with traumatic brain injury. Our data suggest that α-synuclein is physiologically secreted by neurons in vivo. This interstitial fluid pool of the protein may have a role in the propagation of synuclein pathology and progression of Parkinson's disease.

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