To perform a rigorous in-depth proteomics analysis to identify circulating biomarker signatures for idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), capable of providing new insights into the underlying pathogenic mechanisms and putative α-synuclein-related neurodegenerative processes.
Serum samples from patients with idiopathic RBD (n = 9) and healthy controls (n = 10) were subjected to a thorough liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (MS)/MS proteomics analysis using ultimate 3,000 nanoLC interfaced to an ESI-orbitrap velos. Data were analyzed with a systems biology approach to identify altered pathways in RBD.
We identified 259 proteins, 11 of which displayed significantly altered expression level in patients with RBD as compared to controls. Significant reduction in serum levels of dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH) and vitamin D binding protein (GC) were consistent with alterations in the norepinephrinergic (NErgic) and dopaminergic systems, respectively. Additional altered protein profiles indicated that immunity, inflammation, complement, and coagulation also play a role in RBD pathophysiology.
Our results shed light on the protein signature profile, molecular pathways, and mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of RBD and its clinical manifestation. This knowledge opens a new avenue towards more accurate and timely diagnosis and characterization of RBD, which might ultimately translate into new therapeutic strategies with disease-modifying effects. Further evaluation of the identified markers is required to confirm their diagnostic value and potential to guide clinical decision-making.