Patients with isolated REM-sleep behavior disorder have elevated levels of alpha-synuclein aggregates in stool

Misfolded and aggregated α-synuclein is a neuropathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Thus, α-synuclein aggregates are regarded as a biomarker for the development of diagnostic assays. Quantification of α-synuclein aggregates in body fluids is challenging, and requires highly sensitive and specific assays. Recent studies suggest that α-synuclein aggregates may be shed into stool. We used surface-based fluorescence intensity distribution analysis (sFIDA) to detect and quantify single particles of α-synuclein aggregates in stool of 94 PD patients, 72 isolated rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (iRBD) patients, and 51 healthy controls. We measured significantly elevated concentrations of α-synuclein aggregates in stool of iRBD patients versus those of controls (p = 0.024) or PD patients (p < 0.001).

Our results show that α-synuclein aggregates are excreted in stool and can be measured using the sFIDA assay, which could support the diagnosis of prodromal synucleinopathies.