A mitochondrial blood-based patient stratification candidate biomarker for Parkinson’s disease

, Rui Qi, Esther Sammler, Claudia P. Gonzalez-Hunt, Nicholas Pena, Jeremy P. Rouanet, Steven Goodson, Marie Fuzatti, Fabio Blandini, Kirk I. Erickson, Andrea M. Weinstein, Shalini Padmanabhan, Francesca Tonelli, Dario Alessi, Sruti Shiva, Laurie H. Sanders

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint

45 Downloads (Pure)


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder and neuroprotective interventions remain elusive. High throughput biomarkers aimed to stratify patients based on shared etiology is one critical path to the success of disease-modifying therapies in clinical trials. Mitochondrial dysfunction plays a prominent role in the pathogenesis of PD. Previously, we found brain region-specific mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage accumulation in neuronal and in vivo PD models, as well as human PD postmortem brain tissue. In this study, to investigate mtDNA damage as a potential blood biomarker for PD, we describe a novel Mito DNADX assay that allows for the accurate real-time quantification of mtDNA damage in a 96-well platform, compatible with assessing large cohorts of patient samples. We found that levels of mtDNA damage were increased in blood derived from early-stage idiopathic PD patients or those harboring the pathogenic LRRK2 G2019S mutation compared to age-matched healthy controls. Given that increased mtDNA damage was also found in non-manifesting LRRK2 mutation carriers, mtDNA damage may begin to accumulate prior to a clinical PD diagnosis. LRRK2 kinase inhibition mitigated mtDNA damage in idiopathic PD models and patient-derived cells. The latter observations further substantiate a mechanistic role for wild-type LRRK2 kinase activity in idiopathic PD and support mtDNA damage reversal as a suitable approach to slow PD-related pathology. In light of recent advances in the field of precision medicine, the analysis of mtDNA damage as a blood-based patient stratification biomarker should be included in future clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'A mitochondrial blood-based patient stratification candidate biomarker for Parkinson’s disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this