Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an irreversible and incurable multigenic neurodegenerative disorder. It involves progressive loss of mid brain dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SN). We compared brain gene expression profiles with those from the peripheral blood cells of a separate sample of PD patients to identify disease-associated genes. Here, we demonstrate the use of gene expression profiling of brain and blood for detecting valid targets and identifying early PD biomarkers. Implementing this systematic approach, we discovered putative PD risk genes in brain, delineated biological processes and molecular functions that may be particularly disrupted in PD and also identified several putative PD biomarkers in blood. 20 of the differentially expressed genes in SN were also found to be differentially expressed in the blood. Further application of this methodology to other brain regions and neurological disorders should facilitate the discovery of highly reliable and reproducible candidate risk genes and biomarkers for PD. The identification of valid peripheral biomarkers for PD may ultimately facilitate early identification, intervention, and prevention efforts as well.
ASJC Scopus subject areas