Molecular markers of early Parkinson's disease based on gene expression in blood

Clemens R. Scherzer, Aron C. Eklund, Lee J. Morse, Zhixiang Liao, Joseph J. Locascio, Daniel Fefer, Michael A. Schwarzschild, Michael G. Schlossmacher, Michael A. Hauser, Jeffery M. Vance, Lewis R. Sudarsky, David G. Standaert, John H. Growdon, Roderick V. Jensen, Steven R. Gullans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

352 Scopus citations


Parkinson's disease (PD) progresses relentlessly and affects five million people worldwide. Laboratory tests for PD are critically needed for developing treatments designed to slow or prevent progression of the disease. We performed a transcriptome-wide scan in 105 individuals to interrogate the molecular processes perturbed in cellular blood of patients with early-stage PD. The molecular multigene marker here identified is associated with risk of PD in 66 samples of the training set comprising healthy and disease controls [third tertile cross-validated odds ratio of 5.7 (P for trend 0.005)]. It is further validated in 39 independent test samples [third tertile odds ratio of 5.1 (P for trend 0.04)]. Insights into disease-linked processes detectable in peripheral blood are offered by 22 unique genes differentially expressed in patients with PD versus healthy individuals. These include the cochaperone ST13, which stabilizes heat-shock protein 70, a modifier of α-synuclein misfolding and toxicity. ST13 messenger RNA copies are lower in patients with PD (mean ± SE 0.59 ± 0.05) than in controls (0.96 ± 0.09) (P = 0.002) in two independent populations. Thus, gene expression signals measured in blood can facilitate the development of biomarkers for PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-960
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 16 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers
  • Heat shock protein 70-interacting protein (ST13)
  • Microarray
  • Risk markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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