Measurement of alpha-synuclein levels is used in the investigation of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, multiple system atrophy (MSA), and Alzheimer's disease.
Alpha-synuclein is a protein that, in humans, is made of 140 amino acids and is encoded by the SNCA gene.
Alpha-Synuclein belongs to the Synuclein family, which includes beta and gamma Synuclein, and is predominantly expressed in neurons, and concentrated at synaptic terminals. Synucleins may be involved in the regulation of dopamine release and transport and the modulation of synaptic vesicle function. Alpha-Synuclein is a small, presynaptic protein that is the major nonamyloid component of the pathological inclusions characteristic of a wide range of neurodegenerative disorders, collectively known as synucleinopathies.
Alpha-Synuclein is involved in the formation of SNARE complexes, and most significantly, aggregated alpha-synuclein is one of the major components found in Lewy bodies that occur in Parkinson's disease (PD) and other neurodegenerative disorders. Mutation of the alpha-synuclein gene is associated with familial forms of Parkinson's disease. The alpha and beta synucleins are found primarily in brain tissue where they are seen mainly in neuronal cytosol and presynaptic terminals.
Alpha-synuclein is the primary structural component of Lewy body fibrils. Occasionally, Lewy bodies contain tau protein; however, alpha-synuclein and tau constitute two distinctive subsets of filaments in the same inclusion bodies. Alpha-synuclein pathology is also found in both sporadic and familial cases of Alzheimer's disease.
The antibody specific for alpha-synuclein does not cross-react with beta-synuclein and will be useful for the confirmation of Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia and other studies for the localization and detection of alpha-synuclein.