Blood levels of progranulin – a protein whose deficiency has been associated with neurodegeneration — might reflect Parkinson’s severity and development, and function as a disease biomarker, a recent analysis indicated.
Progranulin is broadly dispersed throughout the brain. Studies suggest this protein is a promotor of survival and a regulator of neuroinflammation. Blood levels of progranulin are also indicated to be normal in Parkinson’s patients.
But little is understood about the blood levels of progranulin and disease severity in Parkinson’s may correlate. Researchers explored this possibility of measuring progranulin blood levels and correlating them with symptom severity. Their research included 55 patients (24 men and 31 women, mean age 71.1) and 55 individuals with no disease serving as controllers, (22 men and 33 women, mean age 67.8). Patients’ motor signs were evaluated with the UPDRS motor segment (UPDRS-III). Blood plasma evaluations demonstrated that progranulin levels were substantially lower in Parkinson’s patients when compared with controls (333.8 vs. 364.2 ng/ml). Blood levels of progranulin were also found to correlate with Parkinson’s severity, motor signs, and disease duration. This implies that reduced progranulin levels associated with increased disease severity and motor signs, and longer disease duration. It also suggests a potential role of progranulin from the process associated with Parkinson’s.
Past studies show that fostering progranulin production shielded dopamine-producing neurons from degeneration in mouse models of Parkinson’s, encouraging progranulin’s function in improved neuronal survival and neuroinflammation control. “These results indicate that circulating [progranulin] levels may reflect the severity of neuronal loss and may be developed as a possible biomarker of [Parkinson’s disease],” the investigators wrote. Progranulin deficiency has also been implicated in other neurodegenerative diseases besides Parkinson’s, such as frontotemporal dementia, several dementias primarily impacting behavior and decision-making or speech and language, based on the brain region that’s influenced by More study is essential to research the protein’s diagnostic potential in Parkinson’s disease, the researchers suggested.
A Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers (NCT04111666) is anticipated to examine AL101, a therapeutic chemical using a possible capability to elevate progranulin levels in the minds of individuals with neurodegenerative diseases. However, this study, as beginning in December 2019 recorded, does not seem to be enrolling.