Lewy bodies, which consist mainly of aggregated protein alpha-synuclein, are a pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Lewy bodies in the enteric nerves, which govern gastrointestinal function and are accessible to biopsy, may be a biomarker candidate for PD. However, the two available studies on the use of gastrointestinal biopsies for the detection of Lewy bodies led to conflicting results. This collaborative research project will test several immunohistochemical methods for the detection of Lewy pathology in gastrointestinal biopsy with the objective of identifying a highly sensitive and specific technique that might be widely and readily used in different laboratories.
Four expert investigators from four labs will stain identical sets of gastrointestinal biopsy sections with their own optimized method for the detection of Lewy pathology. All samples will be graded for the presence of Lewy pathology by the four experts, and the most sensitive and specific method will be adopted.
Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:
This study might help in developing a reliable biomarker for PD. Parkinson’s researchers seek a validated biomarker for earlier, confirmed diagnosis; stratification of participants for clinical trials; and faster testing of disease-modifying therapies.
The experts expect to find a sensitive and specific method for detecting Lewy bodies in enteric nerves, which could be further developed in testing to determine a biomarker that could be used in large-scale PD studies.