Previous research has examined whether levels of alpha-synuclein autoantibodies (α-syn AAb) differ between patients with Parkinson’s disease and healthy controls to determine its utility as a biomarker, however, results have been inconclusive.
In a new paper published in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, researchers looked at α-syn Aab levels in the largest study sample to date—one that included 157 patients with Parkinson’s disease from two independent cohorts, 46 age- and sex-matched healthy controls, and 92 patients with other neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, and spinocerebellar ataxia.
Patients with Parkinson’s disease had significantly lower α-syn Aab levels than healthy controls, however, the same was true for patients with other neurological disorders. In addition, α-syn AAb levels significantly differed between the two cohorts of patients with Parkinson’s (cohort 1: 34.13 ± 29.28 μg/mL; cohort 2: 20.18 ± 14.85 μg/mL).
The study authors conclude that serum α-syn AAb levels are not a reliable biomarker for Parkinson’s because of their inability to differentiate between patients with Parkinson’s and patients with other neurodegenerative disorders. Further α-syn AAbs levels showed high variability in all the groups tested, such that they aren’t reliable in distinguishing healthy controls from those with Parkinson’s or other neurodegenerative diseases.