A researcher looks into a microscope.

New research suggests that levels of alpha-synuclein, a protein found in brain-derived blood exosomes, can accurately distinguish between Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy (MSA). This protein has the potential to be a sensitive biomarker for these diseases.

“Today, the diagnosis relies primarily on the clinical exam, and even the best movement disorders specialists make quite a lot of mistakes,” said Gal Bitan, PhD, professor, Department of Neurology, the David Geffen School of Medicine.

Alpha-synuclein is transferred via exosomes, and measuring its levels in serum exosomes could help differentiate between patients with Parkinson's disease, MSA, and healthy individuals. Concentrations of alpha-synuclein were significantly higher in patients with Parkinson's and MSA compared to healthy individuals.

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