α-Synucleinopathies are neurodegenerative diseases characterised by the abnormal accumulation of α-synuclein aggregates in neurons, nerve fibres or glial cells. While small amounts of these α-synuclein pathologies can occur in some neurologically normal individuals who do not have associated neurodegeneration, the absence of neurodegeneration in such individuals precludes them from having a degenerative α-synucleinopathy, and it has yet to be established whether such individuals have a form of preclinical disease. There are three main types of α-synucleinopathy, Parkinson's disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and multiple system atrophy (MSA), with other rare disorders also having α-synuclein pathologies, such as various neuroaxonal dystrophies. Multiple clinical phenotypes exist for each of the three main α-synucleinopathies, with these phenotypes differing in the dynamic distribution of their underlying neuropathologies. Identifying the factors involved in causing different α-synuclein phenotypes may ultimately lead to more targeted therapeutics as well as more accurate clinical prognosis.
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