Scientists at University of Galway have identified a set of biomarkers which can distinguish patients with Parkinson’s disease from those not affected.
Biomarkers are biological molecules found in blood, other body fluids, or tissues that are a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease.
The research was led by Professor Adrienne Gorman, who said that it brings us one step closer to improving Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
The study provides a new direction for research towards a blood-based test, which combined with current approaches, would improve the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a condition that is primarily associated with the loss of motor function, such as the use of muscles and movement of limbs, due to the degeneration and death of nerves that control movement.
When nerves start to die they send stress signals to the surrounding neurons and distal tissues by releasing stress-regulated proteins.
Dr Katarzyna Mnich, the first author on the paper, said: “For that reason we were looking for markers in blood of Parkinson’s disease patients that would indicate neuronal stress.”
The research found that four stress-regulated proteins – PDIA1; PDIA3; MANF; and clusterin – enable us to distinguish Parkinson’s disease patients from those not affected by this disease.
Dr Shirin Moghaddam, the co-author on the paper, said: “The next step is to translate our findings to a clinical diagnostic test.
“This requires validation of the biomarker panel in further independent cohorts to evaluate the test sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.”
The study was funded by Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme and it was conducted in collaboration with University Hospital Galway, University of Limerick and Randox Teoranta.