Enteric alpha-synuclein expression is increased in Parkinson's disease but not Alzheimer's disease

Authors

  • Andrea Gold BSc (Hons.), MClSc,

    1. Laboratory Medicine, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto & Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Zorbey T. Turkalp,

    1. Laboratory Medicine, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto & Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • David G. Munoz MD, FRCPC

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory Medicine, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto & Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Correspondence to: Dr. David G. Munoz, Division of Pathology, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Room # “2-097 Cardinal Carter”, St. Michael''s Hospital, 30 Bond Street Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1W8, Canada; david.g.munoz@gmail.com

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  • Funding agencies: This study was funded by the Department of Laboratory Medicine at St. Michael's Hospital (Toronto, Ontario, Canada).

  • Relevant Conflicts of Interest/Financial Disclosures: Dr. Munoz has received speaker honoraria from Novartis and Janssen, not related to the research reported here.

  • Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.

ABSTRACT

Background and Objective

Alpha-synuclein (α-Syn) is immunohistochemically detectable in enteric neurons in some subjects. We determined its age distribution in the general autopsy population and in an age-matched subset investigated differences with Parkinson's (PD) and Alzheimer's diseases (AD).

Methods

Archival autopsy samples of colon from 95 cases (77 general population, 10 PD, and 8 AD) were immunostained with monoclonal antibody KM51. α-Syn detectability was semiquantitatively graded 1 to 3.

Results

α-Syn was detectable in 52% of the general population, and its level of expression did not change between ages 40 and 91. All PD subjects were α-Syn positive, with higher prevalence (P = 0.001) and grade (P = 0.003) than age-matched controls. AD subjects were no more likely to be α-Syn positive or have a higher grade than controls.

Conclusions

Either PD develops selectively in the enterically α-Syn-positive population subset or PD induces this expression. Absence of increased α-Syn expression in AD points to differences in pathogenesis. © 2013 Movement Disorder Society

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