DNA Methylation Profiling from Blood as a Source for Biomarker Discovery in Parkinsonís Disease
Research Grant, 2013
Objective/Rationale: † † † † † †
Epigenetic mechanisms regulate when the information stored in the DNA is expressed to ensure the proper function of the cells, including neurons in the brain. Recent studies have detected abnormal DNA methylation in the brains of Parkinsonís disease (PD) patients, and those alterations might be also evident in the blood cells. Our goal is to study in detail the changes in DNA methylation in PD patients to determine if they could be useful as a new diagnostic tool.
Project Description: † † † † † ††
In this study we will compare the DNA methylation patterns from cells isolated from blood samples from 46 PD patients and 46 control subjects. We will investigate more than 450,000 sites in the genome per individual using microarray technology. Once we detect the genes that present the highest changes in PD samples, we will select the ones that can better differentiate a PD patient from a control subject to generate a diagnostic panel.
Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinsonís Disease: † † † † † † † † † ††
Proper diagnosis of PD is usually achieved when motor disturbances are evident, which implies that many neuronal cells have been lost in the brain already. Our work aims at identifying a new molecular signature of PD that might help with accurate diagnosis and that can be easily performed on a blood sample. If DNA methylation alterations are evident during the first stages of disease progression, this epigenetic feature might serve as an early diagnostic tool.
Anticipated Outcome: † † † † †
We hope to generate a very detailed map of the DNA methylation changes in blood cells associated with PD that can expand our knowledge of the mechanism of disease at a molecular level. In particular, we aim at identifying a set of genes whose methylation levels might serve as an accurate and robust tool to detect PD manifestations to aid in clinical diagnosis.
Assistant Project Scientist at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience
Location: La Jolla, California, United States