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Selective loss of glucocerebrosidase activity in sporadic Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Marzena Kurzawa-Akanbi, Professor Patrick Chinnery, Dr Christopher Morris



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


BACKGROUND: Lysosomal dysfunction is thought to be a prominent feature in the pathogenetic events leading to Parkinson's disease (PD). This view is supported by the evidence that mutations in GBA gene, coding the lysosomal hydrolase β-glucocerebrosidase (GCase), are a common genetic risk factor for PD. Recently, GCase activity has been shown to be decreased in substantia nigra and in cerebrospinal fluid of patients diagnosed with PD or dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). Here we measured the activity of GCase and other endo-lysosomal enzymes in different brain regions (frontal cortex, caudate, hippocampus, substantia nigra, cerebellum) from PD (n = 26), DLB (n = 16) and age-matched control (n = 13) subjects, screened for GBA mutations. The relative changes in GCase gene expression in substantia nigra were also quantified by real-time PCR. The role of potential confounders (age, sex and post-mortem delay) was also determined.FINDINGS: Substantia nigra showed a high activity level for almost all the lysosomal enzymes assessed. GCase activity was significantly decreased in the caudate (-23%) and substantia nigra (-12%) of the PD group; the same trend was observed in DLB. In both groups, a decrease in GCase mRNA was documented in substantia nigra. No other lysosomal hydrolase defects were determined.CONCLUSION: The high level of lysosomal enzymes activity observed in substantia nigra, together with the selective reduction of GCase in PD and DLB patients, further support the link between lysosomal dysfunction and PD pathogenesis, favoring the possible role of GCase as biomarker of synucleinopathy. Mapping the lysosomal enzyme activities across different brain areas can further contribute to the understanding of the role of lysosomal derangement in PD and other synucleinopathies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chiasserini D, Paciotti S, Eusebi P, Persichetti E, Tasegian A, Kurzawa-Akanbi M, Chinnery PF, Morris CM, Calabresi P, Parnetti L, Beccari T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Molecular Neurodegeneration

Year: 2015

Volume: 10

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-13

Online publication date: 27/03/2015

Acceptance date: 02/03/2015

Date deposited: 11/05/2015

ISSN (electronic): 1750-1326

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.


DOI: 10.1186/s13024-015-0010-2

PubMed id: 25881142


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Funder referenceFunder name
Alzheimer's Society
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
National Institutes of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre in Ageing and Biomedical Research Unit in Lewy Body Diseases
Alzheimer's Research UK
Brains for Dementia Research
UK Medical Research Council Grant
2013-0274.021Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia