Damaged DNA Could Warn of Parkinson's Long Before Symptoms

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Scientists in Barcelona, Spain, think they have identified a possible biomarker that can predict the onset of a disorder that gives rise to diseases likeThese specific indicators swimming in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid precede most physical and cognitive symptoms of Parkinson's and dementia, potentially giving individuals more time to prepare for, or one day even prevent, the conditions.An early form of diagnosis is desperately needed to halt or slow down the disease before it worsens.

As such, mtDNA can accumulate mutations easily, leading to mitochondrial inefficiencies. Compared to other cells of the body, neurons have high energy demands, which means if their mitochondria aren't working at full capacity, neither are they.. But it's remained unclear if damaged mtDNA molecules are predictive of the disease, showing up in the earliest days, or if they are a byproduct of the disease, showing up later.

Ultimately, the team of researchers, led by Margalida Puigròs at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, found significantly more damaged mtDNA molecules in the CSF of patients with IRBD, and those who later also received a diagnosis for Parkinson's disease or Lewy body dementia, compared to unaffected controls.

In a second subgroup analysis, 11 patients with IRBD who had not yet been diagnosed with Parkinson's were tracked over time. Those who later developed Parkinson's or Lewy body dementia showed similar numbers of damaged mtDNA molecules compared to those who did not develop a Lewy body disorder.


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