Plasma α-synuclein predicts cognitive decline in Parkinson's disease

Chin Hsien Lin, Shieh Yueh Yang, Herng Er Horng, Che Chuan Yang, Jen Jie Chieh, Hsin Hsien Chen, Bing Hsien Liu, Ming Jang Chiu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: α-Synuclein is critical to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). Few studies examined the plasma levels of α-synuclein due to the exceptionally low level of α-synuclein in plasma compared with cerebrospinal fluid. We aimed to investigate plasma α-synuclein in patients with PD of different disease severity. Methods: There were total 114 participants, including 80 patients with PD and 34 controls, in the study. Participants received a complete evaluation of motor and non-motor symptoms, including cognitive function. We applied immunomagnetic reduction-based immunoassay to measure plasma levels of α-synuclein. Results: Plasma levels of α-synuclein were significantly higher in patients with PD compared with controls (median: 1.56 pg/mL, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.98 pg/mL vs 0.02 pg/mL, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.03 pg/mL; p<0.0001). Although there was a significant increase in plasma α-synuclein levels in PD patients with a higher Hoehn-Yahr (H-Y) stage, there was no correlation with motor symptom severity, as assessed by Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale part III scores, after confounders (age, gender, and disease duration) were taken into account. However, plasma α-synuclein levels were significantly higher in PD patients with dementia (PDD) than in PD patients with mild cognitive impairment (PDMCI) or normal cognition (0.42 pg/mL, (95% CI 0.25 to 0.93) for PD with normal cognition; 1.29 pg/mL (95% CI 0.76 to 1.93) for PD-MCI and 4.09 pg/mL (95% CI 1.99 to 6.19) for PDD, p<0.01) and were negatively correlated with Mini-Mental State Examination scores (R2-adjusted=0.3004, p<0.001), even after confounder adjustment. Conclusions: Our data suggest that plasma α-synuclein level correlates with cognitive decline but not motor severity in patients with PD. Plasma α-synuclein could serve as a surrogate biomarker for patients at risk of cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-824
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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