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Cerebrospinal fluid endo-lysosomal proteins as potential biomarkers for Huntington’s disease.

By Alexander J. Lowe, Simon Sjodin, Filipe B Rodrigues, Lauren M Byrne, Kaj Blennow, Rosanna Tortelli, Henrik Zetterberg, Edward J Wild

Posted 14 May 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.14.095828

Molecular markers derived from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) represent an accessible means of exploring the pathobiology of Huntington’s disease (HD) in vivo. The endo-lysosomal/autophagy system is dysfunctional in HD, potentially contributing to disease pathogenesis and representing a potential target for therapeutic intervention. Several endo-lysosomal proteins have shown promise as biomarkers in other neurodegenerative diseases; however, they have yet to be fully explored in HD. We performed parallel reaction monitoring mass spectrometry analysis (PRM-MS) of multiple endo-lysosomal proteins in the CSF of 60 HD mutation carriers and 20 healthy controls. Using generalised linear models controlling for age and CAG, none of the 18 proteins measured displayed significant differences in concentration between HD patients and controls. This was affirmed by principal component analysis, in which no significant difference across disease stage was found in any of the three components representing lysosomal hydrolases, binding/transfer proteins and innate immune system/peripheral proteins. However, several proteins were associated with measures of disease severity and cognition: most notably amyloid precursor protein, which displayed strong correlations with composite Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale, UHDRS Total Functional Capacity, UHDRS Total Motor Score, Symbol Digit Modalities Test and Stroop Word Reading. We conclude that although endo-lysosomal proteins are unlikely to have value as disease state CSF biomarkers for Huntington’s disease, several proteins demonstrate associations with clinical severity, thus warranting further, targeted exploration and validation in larger, longitudinal samples.

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