Around 2,630 proteins have been identified by researchers that reside in spinal fluid that is considered 'normal' - a number nearly three times the total number of proteins previously identified.
Another striking finding was that more than half (56 percent) of the proteins were relatively unique to the spinal fluid and not found in blood. The findings may help researchers determine the root causes of a number of neurological conditions and discover improved diagnostic tests and treatments for them.
"Spinal fluid, or as it is known, cerebrospinal fluid, is akin to a liquid window on the brain," explained Steven E. Schutzer, MD, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School (UMDNJ-NJMS).
"This is why it is a very important fluid to examine in studying nervous system disorders.
"This complex research was made possible by merging the expertise of different scientists, as well as having the sophisticated equipment needed to perform this work and the right spinal fluid samples to analyze," he added.
Richard D. Smith, Ph.D., of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory said that the new discoveries would help pave the way for future studies. The findings appear in the June 11 edition of the journal PLoS ONE.