Analysis of circulating metabolites to differentiate Parkinson's disease and essential tremor

Elena A. Ostrakhovitch, Eun Suk Song, Jessica K.A. Macedo, Matthew S. Gentry, Jorge E. Quintero, Craig van Horne, Tritia R. Yamasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Parkinson's disease (PD) and essential tremor (ET) are two common adult-onset tremor disorders in which prevalence increases with age. PD is a neurodegenerative condition with progressive disability. In ET, neurodegeneration is not an established etiology. We sought to determine whether an underlying metabolic pattern may differentiate ET from PD. Circulating metabolites in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy. There were several disrupted pathways in PD compared to ET plasma including glycolysis, tyrosine, phenylalanine, tyrosine biosynthesis, purine and glutathione metabolism. Elevated α-synuclein levels in plasma and CSF distinguished PD from ET. The perturbed metabolic state in PD was associated with imbalance in the pentose phosphate pathway, deficits in energy production, and change in NADPH, NADH and nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase levels. This work demonstrates significant metabolic differences in plasma and CSF of PD and ET patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136428
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - Jan 19 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s Brain and Epilepsy Alliance for Metabolism Research and a CCTS KL2 award under NIH UL1TR001998 (T.R.Y). The research was also supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) grants R35 NS116824 (M.S.G.). J.K.A.M. was supported by NIH/NCI training grant T32CA165990.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to express our deep appreciation to our patients at the University of Kentucky Neuroscience Institute for their participation in this study. We are also grateful to Dr. Ramon Sun of the Neuroscience Department for constructive comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Alpha-synuclein
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Metabolomic analysis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Plasma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)


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