Clinical availability of skin biopsy in the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease

Neurosci Lett. 2010 Jan 29;469(3):357-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.12.027. Epub 2009 Dec 18.


To determine whether skin biopsy is practically useful in the premortem diagnosis for Parkinson's disease (PD), we examined Lewy pathology in the skin of the chest wall and leg, obtained from 6-mm punch biopsies, using phosphorylated alpha-synuclein antibody in 20 patients with clinically diagnosed PD. Abnormal accumulation of alpha-synuclein was found in the chest skin of two (10%) of 20 patients, but not in the leg. Although skin biopsy combined with a conventional immunohistochemistry for alpha-synuclein is not sufficient as a diagnostic tool, we could firstly demonstrate Lewy pathology in premortem tissue. The skin remains to be a promising tissue to be examined for the premortem diagnosis of PD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Leg / pathology*
  • Lewy Bodies / metabolism
  • Lewy Bodies / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Thoracic Wall / metabolism
  • Thoracic Wall / pathology*
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism


  • alpha-Synuclein