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ACS Chem Neurosci. 2012 Mar 21;3(3):161-6. doi: 10.1021/cn200093r. Epub 2011 Dec 19.

Detection of asymptomatic nigrostriatal dopaminergic lesion in rats by exhaled air analysis using carbon nanotube sensors.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Technicon, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel.


The ante-mortem diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD) still relies on clinical symptoms. Biomarkers could in principle be used for the early detection of PD-related neuronal damage, but no validated, inexpensive, and simple biomarkers are available yet. Here we report on the breath-print of presymptomatic PD in rats, using a model with 50% lesion of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra. Exhaled breath was collected from 19 rats (10 lesioned and 9 sham operated) and analyzed using organically functionalized carbon nanotube sensors. Discriminant factor analysis detected statistically significant differences between the study groups and a classification accuracy of 90% was achieved using leave-one-out cross-validation. The sensors' breath-print was supported by determining statistically significant differences of several volatile organic compounds in the breath of the lesioned rats and the sham operated rats, using gas chromatography combined with mass spectrometry. The observed breath-print shows potential for cost-effective, fast, and reliable early PD detection.


Parkinsonism; breath analysis; early diagnosis; nanomaterial; sensor; volatile organic compound

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