Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease affecting about 2% of the population over 65. The most prominent neuro¬patho¬logical characteristics of PD are progressive cell death within the nigrostriatal system and the appearance of cytoplasmatic aggregates of alpha-synuclein (SNCA), so-called Lewy bodies. The disease is typically diagnosed in an advanced stage when 70% of the dopaminergic neurons are lost. Especially in the light of new disease-modifying treat-ments, there is a great need for the early detection of PD.
Scientists of the University of Bonn have found that the methylation pattern of the SNCA-gene is indicative for patients having developed PD. Surprisingly, it could be shown that said methylation status can be assessed based on DNA from peripheral blood cells.
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