Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive, age-related, neurodegenerative disorder, and oxidative stress is an important mediator in its pathogenesis. DJ-1, the product of the causative gene of a familial form of PD, plays a significant role in anti-oxidative defence to protect cells from oxidative stress. DJ-1 undergoes preferential oxidation at the cysteine residue at position 106 (Cys-106) under oxidative stress. Here, using specific antibodies against Cys-106-oxidized DJ-1 (oxDJ-1), it was found that the levels of oxDJ-1 in the erythrocytes of unmedicated PD patients (n = 88) were higher than in those of medicated PD patients (n = 62) and healthy control subjects (n = 33). Elevated oxDJ-1 levels were also observed in a non-human primate PD model. Biochemical analysis of oxDJ-1 in erythrocyte lysates showed that oxDJ-1 formed dimer and polymer forms, and that the latter interacts with 20S proteasome. These results clearly indicate a biochemical alteration in the blood of PD patients, which could be utilized as an early diagnosis marker for PD.
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