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Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology


Misfolded alpha-synuclein (αSyn) aggregates are a hallmark event in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other synucleinopathies. Recently, αSyn seed amplification assays (αSyn-SAAs) have shown promise as a test for biochemical diagnosis of synucleinopathies. αSyn-SAAs use the intrinsic self-replicative nature of misfolded αSyn aggregates (seeds) to multiply them in vitro. In these assays, αSyn seeds circulating in biological fluids are amplified by a cyclical process that includes aggregate fragmentation into smaller self-propagating seeds, followed by elongation at the expense of recombinant αSyn (rec-αSyn). Amplification of the seeds allows detection by fluorescent dyes specific for amyloids, such as thioflavin T. Several αSyn-SAA reports have been published in the past under the names ‘protein misfolding cyclic amplification’ (αSyn-PMCA) and ‘real-time quaking-induced conversion’. Here, we describe a protocol for αSyn-SAA, originally reported as αSyn-PMCA, which allows detection of αSyn aggregates in cerebrospinal fluid samples from patients affected by PD, dementia with Lewy bodies or multiple-system atrophy (MSA). Moreover, this αSyn-SAA can differentiate αSyn aggregates from patients with PD versus those from patients with MSA, even in retrospective samples from patients with pure autonomic failure who later developed PD or MSA. We also describe modifications to the original protocol introduced to develop an optimized version of the assay. The optimized version shortens the assay length, decreases the amount of rec-αSyn required and reduces the number of inconclusive results. The protocol has a hands-on time of ~2 h per 96-well plate and can be performed by personnel trained to perform basic experiments with specimens of human origin.


Humans, alpha-Synuclein, Synucleinopathies, Retrospective Studies, Parkinson Disease

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