Cervical skin denervation associates with alpha-synuclein aggregates in Parkinson disease

Melli, G.; Vacchi, E.; Biemmi, V.; Galati, S.; Staedler, C.; Ambrosini, R.; Kaelin-Lang, A.; Kaelin, Alain (2018). Cervical skin denervation associates with alpha-synuclein aggregates in Parkinson disease. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, 5(11), pp. 1394-1407. Wiley 10.1002/acn3.669

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Objective: Autonomic nervous system is involved at the onset of Parkinson disease (PD), and alpha-synuclein (alpha-Syn) and its phosphorylated form (p-alphaSyn) have been detected in dermal autonomic nerve fibers of PD. We assessed disease specific conformation variant of alpha-Syn immunoreactivity in cutaneous nerves and characterized skin denervation patterns in PD and atypical parkinsonism (AP). Methods: We enrolled 49 subjects, 19 with PD, 17 age-matched healthy controls, and 13 with AP. The manifestations of disease were rated on clinical scales. Skin biopsies from ankle, thigh, and neck were analyzed by immunofluorescence for p-alphaSyn, 5G4 as a conformation specific antibody to pathogenic alpha-Syn and PGP9.5 as axonal marker. Intraepidermal nerve fiber density was measured in all anatomical sites as marker of neurodegeneration. Thirteen of the 19 PD underwent a 1 year follow-up visit plus skin biopsies. Results: PD subjects displayed more severe cervical skin denervation (P < 0.03), which correlated to disease duration and worsened between initial and follow-up examination (P < 0.001). p-alphaSyn and 5G4 were equally sensitive and specific for the diagnosis of PD (area under the ROC was 0.839 for p-alphaSyn and 0.886 for 5G4). PD and AP with possible alpha-synucleinopathies share the features of marked cervical denervation and the presence of 5G4. In contrast AP with possible tauopathies were normal. Interpretation: Conformational specific forms of alpha-Syn are detectable in skin biopsy by immunofluorescence in PD, with a promising diagnostic efficiency similar to p-alphaSyn. Cervical cutaneous denervation correlates with disease duration and increases over time standing out as a potential biomarker of PD progression.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > DCR Unit Sahli Building > Forschungsgruppe Neurologie
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Kaelin, Alain


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Panagiota Milona

Date Deposited:

26 Mar 2019 12:41

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 05:57

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