Scientists Develop New Assay That Can Identify Specific Neurodegenerative Diseases by Detecting Abnormal Alpha-Synuclein in Patient Sera

Synucleinopathies are a group of neurodegenerative diseases caused by the abnormal accumulation of α-synuclein, a protein normally found in the brain and neurons. Incorrect folding of α-synuclein leads to formation of “seeds,” which attract more α-synuclein proteins to form larger clumps. Although α-synuclein seeds have been found in various tissues and blood of patients with synucleinopathies, its potential as a biomarker is ambiguous. Recently, in a study published May 29, 2023 in Nature Medicine, Associate Professor Ayami Okuzumi, along with Senior Associate Professor Taku Hatano, both from the Juntendo University School of Medicine; Senior Assistant Professor Gen Matsumoto at the Nagasaki University School of Medicine; and Professor Nobutaka Hattori from Juntendo University Faculty of Medicine /RIKEN Center for Brain Science, presented a novel assay that can efficiently detect α-synuclein seeds from a patient’s serum. The open-access article is titled “Propagative α-Synuclein Seeds As Serum Biomarkers for Synucleinopathies.”

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