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α-synuclein antibodies recognize a protein present at lower levels in the CSF of patients with dementia with Lewy bodies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 September 2009

Clive Ballard*
Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Disease, King's College London, U.K.
Emma L. Jones
Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Disease, King's College London, U.K.
Elisabet Londos
Clinical Memory Research Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö, Lund University, Sweden
Lennart Minthon
Clinical Memory Research Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö, Lund University, Sweden
Paul Francis
Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Disease, King's College London, U.K.
Dag Aarsland
Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Disease, King's College London, U.K. Clinical Neuroscience Research, Stavanger University Hospital, Norway
Correspondence should be addressed to: Professor Clive Ballard, Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, Wolfson Building, Guy's Campus, King's College London, London Bridge, SE1 1UL, U.K. Phone: +44 207 848 6568; Fax: +44 207 848 6145. Email:


Background: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) accounts for 15–20% of the millions of people worldwide with dementia. Accurate diagnosis is essential to avoid harm and optimize clinical management. There is therefore an urgent need to identify reliable biomarkers.

Methods: Mass spectrometry was used to determine the specificity of antibody α-synuclein (211) for α-synuclein. Using gel electrophoresis we measured protein levels detected by α-synuclein specific antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of DLB patients and compared them to age matched controls.

Results: A 24 kDa band was detected using α-synuclein specific antibodies which was significantly reduced in the CSF of DLB patients compared to age matched controls (p < 0.05). Further analysis confirmed that even DLB patients with mild dementia showed significant reductions in this protein in comparison to controls.

Conclusions: The current study emphasizes the necessity for further studies of CSF α-synuclein as a biomarker of DLB and extends our previous knowledge by establishing a potential relationship between α-synuclein and the severity of cognitive impairment. The identification of this 24 kDa protein is the next important step in these studies.

Research Article
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2009

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