Pathan M, Wu J, Lakso HÅ, Forsgren L, Öhman A
Metabolites 11 (12) 860 [2021-12-09; online 2021-12-09]
Differentiating between Parkinson's disease (PD) and the atypical Parkinsonian disorders of multiple system atrophy (MSA) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is difficult clinically due to overlapping symptomatology, especially at early disease stages. Consequently, there is a need to identify metabolic markers for these diseases and to develop them into viable biomarkers. In the present investigation, solution nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry metabolomics were used to quantitatively characterize the plasma metabolomes (a total of 167 metabolites) of a cohort of 94 individuals comprising 34 PD, 12 MSA, and 17 PSP patients, as well as 31 control subjects. The distinct and statistically significant differences observed in the metabolite concentrations of the different disease and control groups enabled the identification of potential plasma metabolite markers of each disorder and enabled the differentiation between the disorders. These group-specific differences further implicate disturbances in specific metabolic pathways. The two metabolites, formic acid and succinate, were altered similarly in all three disease groups when compared to the control group, where a reduced level of formic acid suggested an effect on pyruvate metabolism, methane metabolism, and/or the kynurenine pathway, and an increased succinate level suggested an effect on the citric acid cycle and mitochondrial dysfunction.