(HealthDay News) – Four biomarkers are found at lower levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with early Parkinson’s disease and are correlated with greater motor severity and a particular motor phenotype, according to a study published online Aug. 26 in JAMA Neurology.

Ju-Hee Kang, MD, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues measured the levels of four biomarkers (β-amyloid 1-42 (Aβ1-42), total tau (T-tau), tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (P-tau181), α-synuclein) in the cerebrospinal fluid of 63 untreated patients with early Parkinson’s disease and 39 healthy controls.

The researchers found significantly lower levels of all four biomarkers, as well as the ratio of T-tau to Aβ1-42, in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Lower Aβ1-42 and P-tau181 were associated with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, while lower T-tau and α-synuclein were associated with greater motor severity. Lower levels of Aβ1-42 and P-tau181 were associated with the postural instability-gait disturbance-dominant phenotype, but not the tremor-dominant or intermediate phenotype.

“These results provide evidence for the potential value of these cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers for the diagnosis and assessment of heterogeneous disease progression in early-stage Parkinson’s disease and suggest biomarker strategies for the possible recognition of prodromal Parkinson’s disease similar to what is being pursued with Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers,” Kang and colleagues conclude.

The study was partly funded by the pharmaceutical industry and several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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