Measurements of the activities of lysosomal enzymes in cerebrospinal fluid have recently been proposed as putative biomarkers for Parkinson's disease and other synucleinopathies. To define the operating procedures useful for ensuring the reliability of these measurements, we analyzed several pre-analytical factors that may influence the activity of β-glucocerebrosidase, α-mannosidase, β-mannosidase, β-galactosidase, α-fucosidase, β-hexosaminidase, cathepsin D and cathepsin E in cerebrospinal fluid. Lysosomal enzyme activities were measured by well-established fluorimetric assays in a consecutive series of patients (n = 28) with different neurological conditions, including Parkinson's disease. The precision, pre-storage and storage conditions, and freeze/thaw cycles were evaluated. All of the assays showed within- and between-run variabilities below 10%. At - 20°C, only cathepsin D was stable up to 40 weeks. At -80°C, the cathepsin D, cathepsin E, and β-mannosidase activities did not change significantly up to 40 weeks, while β-glucocerebrosidase activity was stable up to 32 weeks. The β-galactosidase and α-fucosidase activities significantly increased (+54.9±38.08% after 4 weeks and + 88.94±36.19% after 16 weeks, respectively). Up to four freeze/thaw cycles did not significantly affect the activities of cathepsins D and E. The β-glucocerebrosidase activity showed a slight decrease (-14.6%) after two freeze/thaw cycles. The measurement of lysosomal enzyme activities in cerebrospinal fluid is reliable and reproducible if pre-analytical factors are accurately taken into consideration. Therefore, the analytical recommendations that ensue from this study may contribute to the establishment of actual values for the activities of cerebrospinal fluid lysosomal enzymes as putative biomarkers for Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
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