Our ability to track the progression of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease (PD) is hampered by a lack of biomarkers, rendering the neuronal changes that underlie clinical symptoms largely a mystery. In this issue of the JCI, Fanara et al. report the development of an innovative approach to biomarker development. They describe a method to measure axonal microtubule function via cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sampling and use this technique to provide evidence of deficiencies in this process in PD patients. This both sheds light on the pathophysiology of PD and has implications for the more general problem of developing biomarkers for any brain process.
William Z. Potter