Isolated rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep behaviour disorder (IRBD) can be part of the prodromal stage of the α-synucleinopathies Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) analysis of CSF has high sensitivity and specificity for the detection of misfolded α-synuclein in patients with Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. We investigated whether RT-QuIC could detect α-synuclein in the CSF of patients with IRBD and be used as a biomarker of prodromal α-synucleinopathy.In this longitudinal observational study, CSF samples were obtained by lumbar puncture from patients with video polysomnography-confirmed IRBD recruited at a specialised sleep disorders centre in Barcelona, Spain, and from controls free of neurological disease. CSF samples were stored until analysed using RT-QuIC. After lumbar puncture, participants were assessed clinically for neurological status every 3-12 months. Rates of neurological disease-free survival were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Disease-free survival rates were assessed from the date of lumbar puncture to the date of diagnosis of any neurodegenerative disease, or to the last follow-up visit for censored observations.52 patients with IRBD and 40 healthy controls matched for age (p=0·20), sex (p=0·15), and duration of follow-up (p=0·27) underwent lumbar puncture between March 23, 2008, and July 16, 2017. The CSF α-synuclein RT-QuIC assay was positive in 47 (90%) patients with IRBD and in four (10%) controls, resulting in a sensitivity of 90·4% (95% CI 79·4-95·8) and a specificity of 90·0% (95% CI 76·9-96·0). Mean follow-up from lumbar puncture until the end of the study (July 31, 2020) was 7·1 years (SD 2·8) in patients with IRBD and 7·7 years (2·9) in controls. During follow-up, 32 (62%) patients were diagnosed with Parkinson's disease or dementia with Lewy bodies a mean 3·4 years (SD 2·6) after lumbar puncture, of whom 31 (97%) were α-synuclein positive at baseline. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that patients with IRBD who were α-synuclein negative had lower risk for developing Parkinson's disease or dementia with Lewy bodies at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 years of follow-up than patients with IRBD who were α-synuclein positive (log-rank test p=0·028; hazard ratio 0·143, 95% CI 0·019-1·063). During follow-up, none of the controls developed an α-synucleinopathy. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that participants who were α-synuclein negative (ie, five patients with IRBD plus 36 controls) had lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease or dementia with Lewy bodies at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 years after lumbar puncture than participants who were α-synuclein positive (ie, 47 patients with IRBD plus four controls; log-rank test p<0·0001; hazard ratio 0·024, 95% CI 0·003-0·177).In patients with IRBD, RT-QuIC detects misfolded α-synuclein in the CSF with both sensitivity and specificity of 90%, and α-synuclein positivity was associated with increased risk of subsequent diagnosis of Parkinson's disease or dementia with Lewy bodies. Detection of α-synuclein in the CSF represents a potential prodromal marker of Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. If these findings are replicated in additional cohorts, detection of CSF α-synuclein by RT-QuIC could be used to enrich IRBD cohorts in neuroprotective trials, particularly when assessing interventions that target α-synuclein.Department of Health and Social Care Policy Research Programme, the Scottish Government, and the Weston Brain Institute.
Alex Iranzo, Graham Fairfoul, Anutra Chumbala Na Ayudhaya, Monica Serradell, Ellen Gelpi, Isabel Vilaseca, Raquel Sanchez-Valle, Carles Gaig, Joan Santamaria, Eduard Tolosa, Renata L Riha, Alison J E Green