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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Premotor biomarkers for Parkinson's disease - a promising direction of research

Brian R Haas, Tessandra H Stewart and Jing Zhang*

Author Affiliations

Department of Pathology, University of Washington School of Medicine, HMC Box 359635, 325 9th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104, USA

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Translational Neurodegeneration 2012, 1:11  doi:10.1186/2047-9158-1-11

Published: 31 May 2012

Abstract

The second most serious neurodegenerative disease is Parkinson’s disease (PD). Over the past several decades, a strong body of evidence suggests that PD can begin years before the hallmark clinical motor symptoms appear. Biomarkers for PD are urgently needed to differentiate between neurodegenerative disorders, screen novel therapeutics, and predict eventual clinical PD before the onset of symptoms. Some clinical evaluations and neuroimaging techniques have been developed in the last several years with some success in this area. Moreover, other strategies have been utilized to identify biochemical and genetic markers associated with PD leading to the examination of PD progression and pathogenesis in cerebrospinal fluid, blood, or saliva. Finally, interesting results are surfacing from preliminary studies using known PD-associated genetic mutations to assess potential premotor PD biomarkers. The current review highlights recent advances and underscores areas of potential advancement.

Keywords:
Parkinson’s disease; Biochemical markers; LRRK2; GBA; α-synuclein; DJ-1; Clinical biomarkers; Premotor; Neuroimaging; parkin; CSF