Potential Molecular Indicators of Parkinson’s Symptoms

3D illustration of the destruction of neurons in the striatum, one of the brain regions affected by Parkinson’s disease.
Now scientists at Rockefeller University have made multiple discoveries that open new paths for the early prediction of disease trajectories and treatment of Parkinson’s. As published July 5, 2023 in Nature Communications, they found distinct RNA changes both in the blood of living Parkinson’s patients and in the brains of deceased Parkinson’s patients—and identified that there are many overlapping changes. These changes were further associated with many of the clinical symptoms of the disease. The open-access article is titled “Blood Transcriptomic Signatures Associated with Molecular Changes in the Brain and Clinical Outcomes in Parkinson’s Disease.” The ability to detect molecular changes in the blood that mirror the changes in the brain could potentially be used to develop biomarkers that could predict a patient’s disease trajectory, allowing doctors to tailor treatment to the stage and symptoms of their disease, says first author Krithi Irmady, MD, PhD, a movement disorders physician in the Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-Oncology, headed by Robert B. Darnell, MD, PhD. “We also think the molecular pathways we identified have great potential for pharmacological manipulation,” she says.
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