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Quantitative metabolomics of saliva using proton NMR spectroscopy in patients with Parkinson’s disease and healthy controls



Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a multisystem disorder of unknown etiology, highlights a broad array of symptoms and pathological features influencing organs throughout the body. The metabolic profile of saliva in patients with PD may be influenced by malabsorption in the gastroenteric tract, neurodegeneration, and mitochondrial dysfunction. In the present study, we apply a powerful NMR metabolomics approach for biomarker identification in PD using saliva, a non-invasive bio-fluid.


Metabolic profiling of saliva were studied in patients with PD (n = 76) and healthy controls (HC, n = 37) were analyzed and differentiated PD from HC. A total of 40 metabolites including aromatic amino acids, short-chain fatty acids, branched chain amino acids, taurine, and N-acetylglutamate were identified. Spectral binned data and concentration of metabolites were estimated for analysis.


Increased concentration of phenylalanine, tyrosine, histidine, glycine, acetoacetate, taurine, TMAO, GABA, N-acetylglutamate, acetoin, acetate, alanine, fucose, propionate, isoleucine, and valine were observed in PD as compared to HC. Further, subgroup analysis among early PD, advanced PD, and HC groups, revealed increased metabolite concentration in early PD group as compared to advanced PD and HC group.


Analysis revealed potential biomarkers and their involvement in amino acid metabolism, energy metabolism, neurotransmitters metabolism, and microflora system. Patients with early PD exhibited higher metabolite concentration as compared to advanced PD group which might be associated with dopaminergic treatment.


The results of our data indicate that patients with PD might be characterized by metabolic imbalances like gut microflora system, energy metabolites, and neurotransmitters which may contribute to the PD pathogenesis.

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We are grateful to all the participants involved in this study. Ms. Sadhana Kumari acknowledges the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India (No. 09/006(0458)/2015-EMR-I) for providing the fellowship.

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Correspondence to S. Senthil Kumaran.

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The study was initiated after the approval of the study by the Institute Ethics Committee (IEC). Prior informed consent in writing was obtained from all the participants involved in the study, before collecting the samples.

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Kumari, S., Goyal, V., Kumaran, S.S. et al. Quantitative metabolomics of saliva using proton NMR spectroscopy in patients with Parkinson’s disease and healthy controls. Neurol Sci 41, 1201–1210 (2020).

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  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Salivary metabolomics
  • NMR
  • Biomarkers
  • Malabsorption
  • Spectroscopy