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MDS 2020 | Peripheral α-synuclein as a Parkinson’s disease biomarker

Charles H. Adler, MD, PhD, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Scottsdale, AZ, discusses the potential of skin and submandibular biopsies for Parkinson’s disease diagnosis in living patients. Currently, Parkinson’s disease can only be confirmed by a brain autopsy postmortem to detect the aggregation of alpha-synuclein. However, recent studies indicate the aggregation of alpha-synuclein in organs such as the skin, submandibular glands and colon. This highlights the potential of easy, sensitive and specific diagnosis in living patients. Being able to accurately diagnose Parkinson’s disease is important for distinguishing Parkinsonisms for clinical treatment and participation in trials. The use of biopsies also raises the potential for testing alpha-synuclein as a progression marker of Parkinson’s disease. This interview was recorded during an online conference call with The Video Journal of Neurology (VJNeurology).