Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of tau proteins, a-synuclein, and β-amyloid 1-42 (Aβ1-42) appear to be associated with early stage Parkinson disease (PD) in a group of untreated patients compared with healthy patients, according to a study by Ju-Hee Kang, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues.

The study included the initial 102 research volunteers (63 patients with PD and 39 healthy control patients) of the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) study.

Results indicate that slightly, but significantly, lower levels of Aβ1-42, T-tau, P-tau 181 , a-synuclein and T-tau/Aβ1-42 were seen in patients with PD compared with healthy control patients. Lower Aβ1-42 and P-tau 181 levels were associated with PD diagnosis, and decreased CSF T-tau and a-synuclein levels were associated with increased motor severity, the results also show.

"In this first report of CSF biomarkers in PPMI study subjects, we found that measures of CSF Aβ1-42, T-tau, P-tau 181 and a-synuclein have prognostic and diagnostic potential in early-stage PD. Further investigations using the entire PPMI cohort will test the predictive performance of CSF biomarkers for PD progression," the study concludes.