Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a debilitating neurological disorder for which prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers are lacking. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is an accessible body fluid that comes into direct contact with the central nervous system (CNS) and acts as a nuclease-free repository where RNA transcripts shed by brain tissues can reside for extended periods of time.
Researchers from the University of Miami studied the RNA species present in the CSF of PD patients to identify novel diagnostic biomarkers. Small volumes of CSF from 30 PD patients and 27 healthy age- and sex-matched controls were used for RNA extraction followed by next-generation sequencing (RNA-seq) using the Illumina platform. CSF contains a number of fragmented RNA species that were individually sequenced and analyzed. Comparing PD to control patients, the researchers observed a pool of dysregulated sequencing tags that were further analyzed and validated by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR).
A total of 201 differentially expressed sequencing tags (DETs), including 92 up-regulated and 109 down-regulated DETs were identified. We validated the following DETs by real time PCR in the patient samples: Dnmt1, Ezh2, CCR3, SSTR5,PTPRC, UBC, NDUFV2, BMP7, SCN9, SCN9 antisense (AC010127.3), and long noncoding RNAs AC079630 and UC001lva.4 (close to the LRRK2 gene locus), as potential PD biomarkers.
The CSF is a unique environment that contains many species of RNA. This work demonstrates that CSF can potentially be used to identify biomarkers for the detection and tracking of disease progression and evaluation of therapeutic outcomes.