Plasma extracellular vesicle tau, β-amyloid, and α-synuclein and the progression of Parkinson’s disease: a follow-up study

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Background: Plasma extracellular vesicle (EV) contents are promising biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The pathognomonic proteins of PD, including α-synuclein, tau, and β-amyloid, are altered in people with PD (PwP) and are associated with clinical presentation in previous cross-sectional studies. However, the dynamic changes in these plasma EV proteins in PwP and their correlation with clinical progression remain unclear. Objective: We investigated the dynamic changes in plasma EV α-synuclein, tau, and β-amyloid and their correlation with/prediction of clinical progression in PwP. Design: A cohort study. Methods: In total, 103 PwP and 37 healthy controls (HCs) completed baseline assessment and 1-year follow-up. Clinical assessments included Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) parts II and III, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Plasma EVs were isolated, and immunomagnetic reduction-based immunoassay was used to assess α-synuclein, tau, and β-amyloid 1-42 (Aβ1-42) levels within the EVs. Results: Compared with HCs, significant differences were noted in the annual changes in all three EV pathognomonic proteins in PwP. Although the absolute changes in plasma EV pathognomonic proteins did not significantly correlate with clinical changes, PwP with elevated baseline plasma EV tau (upper-half) levels demonstrated significantly greater decline in motor and cognition, and increased plasma EV α-synuclein levels were associated with postural instability and the gait disturbance motor subtype. For PwP with elevated levels of all three biomarkers, clinical deterioration was significant, as indicated by UPDRS-II scores, postural instability and gait disturbance subscores of UPDRS-III, and MMSE score. Conclusion: The combination of plasma EV α-synuclein, tau, and Aβ1-42 may identify PwP with a high risk of deterioration. Our findings can elucidate the interaction between these pathognomonic proteins, and they may serve as treatment response markers and can be applied in treatment approaches for disease modification.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • biomarker
  • extracellular vesicle
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • tau
  • α-synuclein
  • β-amyloid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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