CSF alpha-synuclein levels in dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease

Brain Res. 2009 Jan 28;1251:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.11.055. Epub 2008 Nov 28.


Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is characterized by widespread depositions of alpha-synuclein, which are described as Lewy bodies. Recently, it was shown that neuronal cells in culture constitutively release alpha-synuclein into the culture medium and that alpha-synuclein is normally present in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The aim of the present study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of CSF alpha-synuclein levels in discriminating DLB from Alzheimer's disease (AD). Alpha-synuclein was measured in CSF from 16 patients with DLB and 21 patients with AD. Iodine-123 metaiodobenzylguanidine cardiac scintigraphy was also performed to assess Lewy body pathology. CSF alpha-synuclein levels did not differ significantly between DLB and AD patients. However, the duration of illness was associated with lower alpha-synuclein levels (p<0.05) in DLB, while no such association was found in AD. The present data show CSF alpha-synuclein levels are not sensitive diagnostic markers to discriminate DLB from AD. However, the lower alpha-synuclein levels in DLB patients with longer duration suggest a reduction in CSF alpha-synuclein in association with increased severity of alpha-synucleinopathy in the brain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / analysis
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Heart / innervation
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Lewy Body Disease / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Lewy Body Disease / genetics
  • Lewy Body Disease / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Perfusion Imaging
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sympathetic Fibers, Postganglionic / physiopathology
  • alpha-Synuclein / analysis
  • alpha-Synuclein / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • tau Proteins / analysis
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Biomarkers
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • tau Proteins