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Sci Rep. 2013;3:2540. doi: 10.1038/srep02540.

A longitudinal study on α-synuclein in blood plasma as a biomarker for Parkinson's disease.

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Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Lancaster, Lancaster, LA1 4AY, UK.


There have been no longitudinal studies on α-synuclein as a potential biomarker for the progression of Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, blood plasma 'total α-synuclein' and 'Ser-129 phosphorylated α-synuclein' were assayed at 4-6 monthly intervals from a cohort of 189 newly-diagnosed patients with PD. For log-transformed data, plasma total α-synuclein levels increased with time for up to 20 yrs after the appearance of initial symptoms (p = 0.012), whereas phosphorylated α-synuclein remained constant over this same period. The mean level of phosphorylated α-synuclein, but not of total α-synuclein, was higher in the PD plasma samples taken at first visit than in single samples taken from a group of 91 healthy controls (p = 0.012). Overall, we conclude that the plasma level of phosphorylated α-synuclein has potential value as a diagnostic tool, whereas the level of total α-synuclein could act as a surrogate marker for the progression of PD.

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