The clinical diagnostic criteria of Parkinson's disease (PD) have limitations in detecting the disease at early stage and in differentiating heterogeneous clinical progression. The lack of reliable biomarker(s) for early diagnosis and prediction of prognosis is a major hurdle to achieve optimal clinical care of patients and efficient design of clinical trials for disease-modifying therapeutics. Numerous efforts to discover PD biomarkers in CSF were conducted. In this review, we describe the molecular pathogenesis of PD and discuss its implication to develop PD biomarkers in CSF. Next, we summarize the clinical utility of CSF biomarkers including alpha-synuclein for early and differential diagnosis, and prediction of PD progression. Given the heterogeneity in the clinical features of PD and none of the CSF biomarkers for an early diagnosis have been developed, research efforts to develop biomarkers to predict heterogeneous disease progression is on-going. Notably, a rapid cognitive decline followed by the development of dementia is a risk factor of poor prognosis in PD. In connection to this, CSF levels of Alzheimer's disease (AD) biomarkers have received considerable attention. However, we still need long-term longitudinal observational studies employing large cohorts to evaluate the clinical utility of CSF biomarkers reflecting Lewy body pathology and AD pathology in the brain. We believe that current research efforts including the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative will resolve the current needs of early diagnosis and/or prediction of disease progression using CSF biomarkers, and which will further accelerate the development of disease-modifying therapeutics and optimize the clinical management of PD patients.
Keywords: Biomarker; Cerebrospinal fluid; Parkinson's disease; Progression markers; alpha-synuclein.