Quantification of α-synuclein in cerebrospinal fluid as a biomarker candidate: review of the literature and considerations for future studies

Biomark Med. 2010 Oct;4(5):683-99. doi: 10.2217/bmm.10.90.


The pursuit of laboratory tests that allow for the reliable and inexpensive identification of subjects with parkinsonism represents a hot topic in translational neuroscience. This unmet need affects the counseling of presymptomatic, at-risk subjects and delays the accurate diagnosis of already symptomatic individuals. The absence of validated markers that are closely linked to the pathological disease process also compromises the objective monitoring of therapeutic interventions in clinical trials. Typical Parkinson's disease represents a heterogenous syndrome (but the majority of patients suffer from neurodegeneration) that is linked to the misprocessing of α-synuclein (α-Syn). The identification of α-Syn as a bona fide constituent of human cerebrospinal fluid and its quantification in early cross-sectional studies represent the beginning of a new chapter in Parkinson's disease research. It will determine what role, if any, cerebrospinal fluid α-Syn plays as a biomarker candidate in Lewy inclusion-positive forms of parkinsonism. This article focuses on the progress that has been made in seven recently published papers and highlights the challenges that lie ahead. We also provide specific information regarding standardized operating procedures for cerebrospinal fluid collection in PD biomarker research efforts.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • alpha-Synuclein / blood
  • alpha-Synuclein / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism


  • Antibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • alpha-Synuclein