Discovery of Volatile Biomarkers of Parkinson's Disease from Sebum

Drupad K. Trivedi, Eleanor Sinclair, Yun Xu, Depanjan Sarkar, Caitlin Walton-Doyle, Camilla Liscio, Phine Banks, Joy Milne, Monty Silverdale, Tilo Kunath, Royston Goodacre, Perdita Barran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that presents with significant motor symptoms, for which there is no diagnostic chemical test. We have serendipitously identified a hyperosmic individual, a "Super Smeller" who can detect PD by odor alone, and our early pilot studies have indicated that the odor was present in the sebum from the skin of PD subjects. Here, we have employed an unbiased approach to investigate the volatile metabolites of sebum samples obtained noninvasively from the upper back of 64 participants in total (21 controls and 43 PD subjects). Our results, validated by an independent cohort (n=31), identified a distinct volatiles-associated signature of PD, including altered levels of perillic aldehyde and eicosane, the smell of which was then described as being highly similar to the scent of PD by our Super Smeller.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-606
Number of pages8
JournalACS Central Science
Issue number4
Early online date20 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2019

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Photon Science Institute
  • Manchester Institute of Biotechnology


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