Serum Raman spectroscopy as a diagnostic tool in patients with Huntington's disease†
Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by an abnormal CAG expansion in exon 1 of the huntingtin (HTT) gene. Given its genetic basis it is possible to study patients both in the pre-manifest and manifest stages of the condition. While disease onset can be modelled using CAG repeat size, there are no easily accessible biomarkers that can objectively track disease progression. Here, we employed a holistic approach using spectral profiles generated using both surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and Raman Spectroscopy (RS), on the serum of healthy participants and HD patients covering a wide spectrum of disease stages. We found that there was both genotype- and gender-specific segregation on using the full range in the fingerprint region with both SERS and RS. On a more detailed interrogation using specific spectral intervals, SERS revealed significant correlations with disease progression, in particular progression from pre-manifest through to advanced HD was associated with serum molecules related to protein misfolding and nucleotide catabolism. Thus, this study shows the potential of Raman spectroscopy-based techniques for stratification of patients and, of SERS, in particular, to track disease status through provision of ‘spectral’ biomarkers in HD, with clinical applications for other diseases and trials looking at disease modifying therapies.