Elevated levels of cerebrospinal fluid α-synuclein oligomers in healthy asymptomatic LRRK2 mutation carriers

Front Aging Neurosci. 2014 Sep 25;6:248. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00248. eCollection 2014.


Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 gene are the most common cause of autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD). To assess the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of α-synuclein oligomers in symptomatic and asymptomatic leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 mutation carriers, we used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) to investigate total and oligomeric forms of α-synuclein in CSF samples. The CSF samples were collected from 33 Norwegian individuals with leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 mutations: 13 patients were clinically diagnosed with PD and 20 patients were healthy, asymptomatic leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 mutation carriers. We also included 35 patients with sporadic PD (sPD) and 42 age-matched healthy controls. Levels of CSF α-synuclein oligomers were significantly elevated in healthy asymptomatic individuals carrying leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 mutations (n = 20; P < 0.0079) and in sPD group (n = 35; P < 0.003) relative to healthy controls. Increased α-synuclein oligomers in asymptomatic leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 mutation carriers showed a sensitivity of 63.0% and a specificity of 74.0%, with an area under the curve of 0.66, and a sensitivity of 65.0% and a specificity of 83.0%, with an area under the curve of 0.74 for sPD cases. An inverse correlation between CSF levels of α- synuclein oligomers and disease severity and duration was observed. Our study suggests that quantification of α-synuclein oligomers in CSF has potential value as a tool for PD diagnosis and presymptomatic screening of high-risk individuals.

Keywords: CSF; LRRK2 mutation carriers; Parkinson’s disease; alpha-synuclien; biomarkers.