RESEARCH HIGHLIGHT - Detection of alpha-synuclein aggregates in gastrointestinal biopsies by protein misfolding cyclic amplification

Lewy bodies and neurites, the pathological signatures found in the central nervous system of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, are primarily composed of aggregated alpha-synuclein (aSyn). The observation that α-syn aggregates are also found in the enteric nervous system has prompted IMPRIND Partner CNRS to develop a diagnostic procedure based on the detection of pathological α-syn in gastrointestinal biopsies. The methods, published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, is based on seeding of monomeric α-syn by aggregates present in affected cells. IMPRIND Partner CNRS shows that the method he implemented is capable of detecting α-syn aggregates in routine gastrointestinal biopsies. Rectum biopsies appear not to contain sufficient amounts of aggregated α-syn to detect seeded assembly while biopsies from antrum and sigmoid do. The study further shows diagnostic potential as seeding is detected in a patient biopsy taken 10 years ahead of PD diagnosis.

This project receives funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking ( under grant agreement No 116060. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA.

This work is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education‚ Research and Innovation (SERI) under contract number 17.00038.

The opinions expressed and arguments employed herein do not necessarily reflect the official views of these funding bodies.

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