Researchers at Lund University have identified a new biomarker, DOPA decarboxylase (DCC), that shows elevated levels in individuals with Parkinson’s disease and other dopamine-deficiency disorders.
Remarkably, the elevation in DDC levels occurs even years before the manifestation of any symptoms.
The study, published in the journal Nature Aging, represents a significant advancement in the diagnosis and potential treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Advanced Diagnostic Techniques
Under the guidance of Oskar Hansson, a professor of neurology at Lund University and a consultant at Skåne University Hospital, the team used cutting-edge methods to measure thousands of proteins simultaneously in blood samples.
“We found that if a patient has a disorder in the dopamine system, the levels of the biomarker DDC increase, regardless of where they are in the course of the disease,” Hansson said.
The initial findings were confirmed in an additional sample of 152 individuals, further solidifying the efficacy of the biomarker.
By analyzing blood plasma samples from another 174 individuals, the researchers also showed that the new biomarker is significantly increased in the blood, especially among those with Parkinson’s disease.
Advantages Over Existing Methods
Currently, damage to the dopamine system in the brain can be detected through expensive and complicated PET camera examinations, which are only available at specialized clinics.
In contrast, the DDC biomarker can be measured in blood, making it a much more accessible and cost-effective diagnostic tool.
Towards Better Diagnosis and Treatment
Hansson emphasized the urgency of developing safer diagnostic methods to prevent misdiagnoses, given that symptoms of various neurodegenerative diseases can closely resemble each other.
“I believe that in the future, different brain diseases will be treated even before the symptoms become apparent, and blood markers like DDC will be essential in identifying the right individuals in a simple and cost-effective manner,” he added.
The discovery of the DDC biomarker could revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease, as well as other conditions involving dopamine deficiency.
By enabling earlier and more accurate diagnosis, this groundbreaking research opens up the possibility of preventive treatments that could significantly improve the quality of life for people affected by these debilitating diseases.
If you care about Parkinson’s disease, please read studies about Vitamin E that may help prevent Parkinson’s disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.
The research findings can be found in Nature Aging.
Follow us on Twitter for more articles about this topic.
Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.