VGF peptides as novel biomarkers in Parkinson’s disease
Member of the Collaboration Group;Brancia C.
Member of the Collaboration Group;Marrosu F.
Member of the Collaboration Group;Manconi B.;Ferri G. -L.
AbstractParkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by a progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). At disease onset, a diagnosis is often difficult. VGF peptides are abundant in the SN and peripheral circulation; hence, we investigate whether their plasma profile may reflect the brain dopamine reduction. Using antibodies against the VGF C-terminal portion, we analyzed the rat brain and human plasma, with immunohistochemistry and ELISA. Rats were unilaterally lesioned with 6-hyroxydopamine and sacrificed either 3 or 6 weeks later with or without levodopa treatment. Plasma samples were obtained from PD patients, either at the time of diagnosis (group 1, drug naïve, n = 23) or upon dopamine replacement (group 2, 1–6 years, n = 24; group 3, > 6 years, n = 16), compared with age-matched control subjects (group 4, n = 21). Assessment of the olfactory function was carried out in group 2 using the “Sniffin’ Sticks” test. VGF immunoreactivity was present in GABAergic neurons and, on the lesioned side, it was reduced at 3 weeks and abolished at 6 weeks after lesion. Conversely, upon levopoda, VGF labeling was restored. In PD patients, VGF levels were reduced at the time of diagnosis (1504 ± 587 vs. 643 ± 348 pmol/mL, means ± S.E.M: control vs. naïve; p < 0.05) but were comparable with the controls after long-term drug treatment (> 6 years). A linear correlation was demonstrated between VGF immunoreactivity and disease duration, levodopa equivalent dose and olfactory dysfunction. Plasma VGF levels may represent a useful biomarker, especially in the early stages of PD.
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