BOSTON—A skin biopsy can detect alpha-synuclein in patients with Parkinson’s disease, potentially helping clinicians to make a more accurate diagnosis, researchers reported at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Neurological Association.
“The presence of alpha-synuclein was strongly positive in Parkinson’s disease, mild in atypical parkinsonism, and not detectable in controls,” stated Idelfonso Rodríguez-Leyva, MD, Professor of Neurology and Neurophysiology at the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí in Mexico, and colleagues. “Although these findings require further confirmation, they have the potential of improving the diagnostic accuracy of Parkinson’s disease using a minimally invasive modality.”
Skin biopsies from the lower back and cervical region were used to assess 21 patients with Parkinson’s disease and nine patients with atypical parkinsonism. In addition, 10 healthy controls underwent cervical biopsies.
Using immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence with polyclonal antibody for alpha-synuclein, the investigators evaluated a total of 70 specimens. The presence of alpha-synuclein was expressed as a percentage and was quantified based on the number of positive cells in relation to the total.