Center for Movement Disorders, Department of Neurology, Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China; China National Clinical Research Center for Neurological Diseases, Beijing, China; Parkinson's Disease Center, Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders, Beijing, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Alpha-synuclein (α-SYN) is found in peripheral autonomic neuronal network apart from brain in Parkinson's disease (PD). Nitrated α-SYN is an undesirable modification associated with oxidative and nitrative damage and has been found extensively in brain, gastrointestinal(GI) tract and blood cells in PD. We aim to investigate the presence of nitrated α-SYN in minor salivary gland biopsy in PD. Patients with PD and age-matched controls underwent minor salivary gland biopsy. Motor impairment was assessed by Hoehn-Yahr (H-Y) stage and Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) Part III in off-state. 11C-methyl-N-2b-carbomethoxy-3b-(4-fluorophenyl) tropane (11C-CFT) DAT-PET scan was performed in all subjects. Immunohistochemical staining for nitrated α-SYN was performed in the minor salivary gland tissues. The minor salivary gland tissues of 8 PD cases and 7 controls with early stage (H-Y stage 1-2) were detected. All PD patients showed asymmetrical and reduction of 11C-CFT uptake in the caudate, anterior and posterior putamen, while all control subjects showed normal DAT-PET scan. Positive nitrated α-SYN immunostaining was observed in all PD patients (8/8,100%) but not in control subjects (0/7). The results were consistent well with that of DAT-PET. These nitrated alpha-synuclein positive structures were mainly located in the periacinar stroma in PD patients. Our result suggests that nitrated α-SYN exists in the early stage and is probably a promising biomarker for PD. Minor salivary gland is an ideal site for α-SYN nitration detection. Despite of the small number of subjects, attention should be given to α-SYN nitration in PD and more investigations on nitrated α-SYN in different sites and large sample using should be explored in future.