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ACS Chem Neurosci. 2019 Feb 20;10(2):812-823. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00383. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

Alpha-Synuclein in Peripheral Tissues in Parkinson's Disease.

Ma LY1,2, Liu GL1,2, Wang DX1,2, Zhang MM1,2, Kou WY1,2, Feng T1,2,3.

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Center for Movement Disorders, Department of Neurology , Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University , Beijing 100070 , China.
China National Clinical Research Center for Neurological Diseases , Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University , Beijing 100070 , China.
Parkinson's Disease Center, Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders , Capital Medical University , Beijing 100069 , China.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder. To date, the diagnosis of PD relies mainly on clinical manifestations whereas neuropathological confirmation of the brain is only possible with postmortem studies. Neuronal loss in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) associated with Lewy bodies/neurites is the pathological hallmark feature of PD. The major component of Lewy pathology (LP) is misfolded alpha-synuclein (α-SYN). There is evidence that the distribution of LP is not only limited to the brain but extends to peripheral tissues, including gastrointestinal tract, salivary glands, olfactory mucosa, skin, retina, adrenal gland, and heart. Sensitivity and specificity of α-SYN detection in PD vary greatly among studies due to methodological heterogeneity, such as sampling sites and size, tissue preparation, staining techniques, and antibodies used. Of note, α-SYN has also been found in preclinical and prodromal PD. Further in vivo studies focusing on favorable biopsy sites and standard techniques are needed to get better understanding of α-SYN deposits in preclinical, prodromal, and clinical PD.


Alpha-synuclein; Parkinson’s disease; peripheral tissues

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