(HealthDay News)  Submandibular gland biopsy to detect Lewy-type alpha-synucleinopathy (LTS) may be feasible as a diagnostic test for Parkinson’s disease, according to a study released in advance of its presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, which will be held from March 1623 in San Diego.

Noting that LTS has been found in autopsied submandibular glands from patients with Parkinson’s disease and in the minor salivary gland, Charles Adler, MD, PhD, from the Mayo Clinic Arizona in Scottsdale, and colleagues took core needle biopsies of one submandibular gland from 10 patients with Parkinson’s disease (mean age, 67.8 years; mean disease duration, 10.4 years), and also removed minor salivary glands. Tissue was stained for phosphorylated alpha-synuclein to find evidence of LTS.

The researchers note that onefive core needle samples of submandibular gland were extracted and twofive minor salivary glands. Three patients experienced an adverse event. In four of six submandibular gland biopsies, positive LTS staining was detected, with insufficient tissue available for four cases. Although sufficient glandular tissue was available for all 10 minor salivary gland biopsies, only one was positive.

“This study provides the first direct evidence for the use of lower jaw gland biopsies as a diagnostic test for living patients with Parkinson’s disease,” Adler said in a statement. “This finding may be of great use when needing tissue proof of Parkinson’s disease, especially when considering performing invasive procedures such as deep brain stimulation surgery or gene therapy.”

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