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Role of neuron specific enolase as a biomarker in Parkinson’s disease


Abstract: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is thought to be the most common neurodegenerative disease with movement disorder. The key motor symptoms are rigidity, tremor, akinesis/hypokinesia/bradykinesia, and postural instability. However, in our day-to-day clinical practice we tend to see several other symptoms which may be motor or non-motor. Non-motor symptoms (NMS) are quite common and debilitating. The pathological hallmarks of PD are loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNPc) and accumulation of unfolded or misfolded alpha-synuclein. Diagnosis of PD is difficult in the pre-motor stage. Late diagnosis renders a substantial loss of dopaminergic neurons in SNPc and spread of disease in other parts of the brain. This may manifest as either full blown symptoms requiring multiple medications or may even lead to life threatening condition due to lack of early diagnostic tools and techniques. Biomarkers are required to diagnose PD at a very early stage when prevention is possible. Hence, we see a lot of interest among researchers involved in finding a biomarker specific to the disease. Biomarkers may be clinical, image based, genetic, and biochemical. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum markers which may correlate with disease pathophysiology are of great significance. One such molecule which recently gained a lot of attention is neuron-specific enolase (NSE). The main aim of this paper is to highlight the role of NSE in predicting neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation ultimately reflecting damage of brain cells in PD.
Keywords: Biomarkers / neuron specific enolase / motor symptoms / Role

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