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Reduced mitochondrial DNA copy number is a biomarker of Parkinson's disease

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Angela Pyle, Haidyan Anugrha, Dr Marzena Kurzawa-Akanbi, Professor Alison Yarnall, Professor David Burn, Professor Gavin Hudson



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


Like any organ, the brain is susceptible to the march of time and a reduction in mitochondrial biogenesis is a hallmark of the aging process. In the largest investigation of mitochondrial copy number in Parkinson's disease (PD) to date and by using multiple tissues, we demonstrate that reduced Parkinson DNA (mitochondrial DNA mtDNA) copy number is a biomarker for the etiology of PD. We used established methods of mtDNA quantification to assess the copy number of mtDNA in n = 363 peripheral blood samples, n = 151 substantia nigra pars compacta tissue samples and n = 120 frontal cortex tissue samples from community-based PD cases fulfilling UK-PD Society brain bank criteria for the diagnosis of PD. Accepting technical limitations, our data show that PD patients suffer a significant reduction in mtDNA copy number in both peripheral blood and the vulnerable substantia nigra pars compacta when compared to matched controls. Our study indicates that reduced mtDNA copy number is restricted to the affected brain tissue, but is also reflected in the peripheral blood, suggesting that mtDNA copy number may be a viable diagnostic predictor of PD. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pyle A, Anugrha H, Kurzawa-Akanbi M, Yarnall A, Burn D, Hudson G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neurobiology of Aging

Year: 2016

Volume: 38

Pages: 216.e7–216.e10

Print publication date: 01/02/2016

Online publication date: 05/11/2015

Acceptance date: 29/10/2015

ISSN (print): 0197-4580

ISSN (electronic): 1558-1497

Publisher: Elsevier Science


DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2015.10.033

PubMed id: 26639155


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Funder referenceFunder name
F-1202Parkinson's UK
G0900652Medical Research Council
G1100540Medical Research Council
G0400074Medical Research Council
G0502157Medical Research Council
MR/L016451/1Medical Research Council