Researchers identify a potential biomarker for Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease that features movement disorders such as tremor, stiffness, slowness of movements or postural instability. Although it is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s, there is no reliable molecular biomarker to diagnose this pathology.

A fragment of a G protein-coupled receptor (GPR37) present in neurons could be a promising candidate to be a diagnostic biomarker for Parkinson’s disease, according to a study led by Francisco Ciruela, professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Barcelona, and member at the Institute of Neurosciences of the University of Barcelona (UBNeuro) and the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL).

The study, carried out by the research team of the Neurosciences Program of the UB and IDIBELL and published in the journal Translational Neurodegeneration, states that only patients with Parkinson’s –but no other neurogenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s– present high concentrations of the GPR37 fragment in the cerebrospinal fluid. These findings show the high specificity of the biomarker.

“Unlike the brain, we can access the cerebrospinal fluid much more easily”, notes Francisco Ciruela. “The cerebrospinal fluid is the mirror of what happens in the nervous system. It can give us a lot of information”, he concludes.

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