Background: Alpha-synuclein has been directly linked to Parkinson's disease etiology by mutations in and multiplication of its gene that result in a familial form of Parkinson's disease. Alpha-synuclein has been detected in blood, and was found to be elevated in the blood of those individuals with the alpha-synuclein gene multiplication.
Objective: A complete analysis of the level of alpha-synuclein in blood has not been performed. In this report, we determine the quantitative distribution of alpha-synuclein in the plasma and different cellular fractions of human blood. The levels of alpha-synuclein in human and mouse blood are compared.
Methods: Alpha-synuclein levels in the different fractions of blood were quantified by a sandwich ELISA with purified recombinant alpha-synuclein as an assay standard. Samples were further characterized by Western immunoblot analysis.
Results: More than 99% of the alpha-synuclein resides in the red blood cells (RBCs) with less than 1% of the total detected in the plasma, platelets and peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
Conclusions: More than 99% of the alpha-synuclein in human blood is present in the peripheral blood cells, with the remainder in plasma. Fractionation of peripheral blood cells from human blood and quantification of alpha-synuclein revealed that only a very small amount of the total alpha-synuclein is present in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and platelets, with the majority of alpha-synuclein in blood being present in RBCs. Considering the abundance and fragility of RBCs, alpha-synuclein levels in these other blood fractions or other bodily fluids such as cerebrospinal fluid may be artificially elevated by contamination with intact or lysed RBCs.
2008 S. Karger AG, Basel