June 16, 2024

Spotting the Seeds of Neurodegeneration – Scientists Develop a Groundbreaking Blood Test for Synucleinopathies

Synucleinopathies are a group of neurodegenerative diseases triggered by the unusual build-up of α-synuclein, a protein normally discovered in the brain and neurons. Incorrect folding of α-synuclein results in the formation of seeds, which attract more α-synuclein proteins to form bigger clumps. Although α-synuclein seeds have actually been discovered in numerous tissues and blood of patients with synucleinopathies, their potential as a biomarker is ambiguous.
The IP/RT-QuIC assay effectively discovers minute concentrations of serum α-synuclein seeds, enabling quicker medical diagnosis of particular neurodegenerative disorders. Credit: Professor Hattori and his team from Juntendo University School of Medicine
Just recently, in a research study released in Nature Medicine, Associate Professor Ayami Okuzumi along with Senior Associate Professor Taku Hatano, both from the Juntendo University School of Medicine, Senior Assistant Professor Gen Matsumoto at the Nagasaki University School of Medicine, and Professor Nobutaka Hattori from Juntendo University Faculty of Medicine/ RIKEN Center for Brain Science, present a novel assay that can efficiently detect α-synuclein seeds from a clients serum.
In this assay, named immunoprecipitation-based real-time quaking-induced conversion (IP/RT-QuIC), the α-synuclein seeds are isolated from the clients serum through immunoprecipitation (protein separation using an antibody binding only to the target protein) followed by fast amplification by real-time quaking-induced conversion (amplification induced by energetic shaking).
This technique is extremely sensitive, as it can identify serum α-synuclein seed concentrations as small as 1000pg/ml. This comes as excellent news because a lot of existing diagnostic approaches require cerebrospinal fluid for synuclein detection. The present research study was made available/published on May 30, 2023.
Sharing the objective of their research study, Professor Hattori and his team explain, “In this research study, we validated the usefulness of our unique assay system, IP/RT-QuIC, as a diagnostic marker of synucleinopathies. We propose that the fibril morphology of serum α-synuclein seeds and aggregates derived by IP/RT-QuIC can discriminate between Parkinsons disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and numerous system atrophy (MSA).”.
The research study group demonstrated that IP/RT-QuIC found α-synuclein seeds efficiently in patients with neurodegenerative illness and might distinguish them from people without degenerative illness (controls). Next, they studied the structural properties of the amplified seeds using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). They observed that the synuclein seed structure varied with the type of synucleinopathy.
PD and DLB seeds revealed paired filaments whereas MSA seeds had 2 unique structures– straight and twisted filaments. This finding confirmed that IP/RT-QuIC combined with TEM can differentiate between synucleinopathies based on disease-specific seed structure.
Further, when the researchers transduced enhanced seeds into the HEK293T cell line stably expressing GFP-fused human α-synuclein with p.A53T anomaly (in vitro) and injected seeds into mouse brains (in vivo), the seeds kept their aggregate forming capacity and diseases-specific seed structure. These aggregates displayed various morphologies depending upon the illness type. Thus, specific synucleinopathies can be diagnosed by IP/RT-QuIC from the structural differences of the α-synuclein seeds and their aggregates.
Teacher Hattori and his group explain, “At present, a neurologists consultation is essential to detect synucleinopathies. More patients with synucleinopathies might be diagnosed with precision and might get suitable treatment at an earlier phase.”.
The authors conclude with their future vision, “Our brand-new IP/RT-QuIC assay might have lots of future applications as a biomarker for exact medical diagnosis and tracking of treatment of neurodegenerative diseases in clinical trials. This basic diagnostic approach will make it possible for the establishment of customized therapy options for synucleinopathies.”.
Referral: “Propagative α-synuclein seeds as serum biomarkers for synucleinopathies” by Ayami Okuzumi, Taku Hatano, Gen Matsumoto, Shuko Nojiri, Shin-ichi Ueno, Yoko Imamichi-Tatano, Haruka Kimura, Soichiro Kakuta, Akihide Kondo, Takeshi Fukuhara, Yuanzhe Li, Manabu Funayama, Shinji Saiki, Daisuke Taniguchi, Taiji Tsunemi, Deborah McIntyre, Jean-Jacques Gérardy, Michel Mittelbronn, Rejko Kruger, Yasuo Uchiyama, Nobuyuki Nukina and Nobutaka Hattori, 29 May 2023, Nature Medicine.DOI: 10.1038/ s41591-023-02358-9.

Researchers have actually established a novel assay, IP/RT-QuIC, that finds α-synuclein seeds in synucleinopathy clients serum. This assay can differentiate synucleinopathies like Parkinsons disease, enabling for earlier, customized treatments and exact medical diagnoses.
Scientists have actually engineered an unique assay that can determine specific neurodegenerative conditions by finding irregular α-synuclein present in patient sera.
Researchers from Japan have actually originated a new test that can identify seeds, or clusters, of abnormally folded α-synuclein proteins in the blood. These seeds stimulate the development of bigger clumps, which in turn cause a class of neurodegenerative disorders described as synucleinopathies.
The freshly established assay boasts a variety of useful features. It can determine in between various synucleinopathies by finding structural differences in the amplified seeds.

It can discern between various synucleinopathies by identifying structural distinctions in the magnified seeds. Inaccurate folding of α-synuclein leads to the development of seeds, which draw in more α-synuclein proteins to form bigger clumps. α-synuclein seeds have actually been discovered in numerous tissues and blood of clients with synucleinopathies, their prospective as a biomarker is ambiguous.
Further, when the researchers transduced magnified seeds into the HEK293T cell line stably expressing GFP-fused human α-synuclein with p.A53T anomaly (in vitro) and injected seeds into mouse brains (in vivo), the seeds kept their aggregate forming capability and diseases-specific seed structure. Hence, specific synucleinopathies can be identified by IP/RT-QuIC from the structural differences of the α-synuclein seeds and their aggregates.