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Practical guidelines for molecular testing
in Parkinson disease
Disease definition :
Parkinson disease is the most common form of parkinsonism.
Other genetic disorders characterised by Parkinsinism include Spino-cerebellar Frequency : Parkinson disease is the second most common neurodegenerative
disorder after Alzheimer disease affecting more than 1% of individuals over age 55 years and more than 3% of those over 75. The overall incidence rate is 13 per Main clinical symptoms : Parkinson disease is is characterized by tremor, muscle
rigidity, and bradykinesia (slowed movements). Psychiatric manifestations are common, and dementia eventually occurs in more than 20% of cases. Inheritance : Parkinson disease can be inherited in an
autosomal recessive manner. Also mutations in susceptibility genes (NR4A2, SNCAIP, mitochondrial DNA) may increase the risk for familial Parkinson disease. Clinical diagnosis : Parkinson disease is a clinical diagnosis based on the
combination of tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia, combined with a good response to levodopa. Postmortem athologic examination may show the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, and usually also the presence of Lewy bodies (intracytoplasmic inclusions nigral neurons). Clinical classification :
Juvenile-onset Parkinson disease : onset before age 20 years
Early-onset Parkinson disease : onset between age 20-50 years
Late-onset Parkinson disease : onset after age 50 years
Molecular testing : Up to now more than ??? loci with 6 nuclear genes have been
shown to be implicated in Parkinson disease. All loci have been classified as PARK (for Parkinson gene), followed by a number indicating the chronological order of identification of the locus. • Autosomal dominant Parkinson disease : 3 genes have been shown to
cause autosomal dominant Parkinson disease : SNCA (PARK1), UCHL1 (PARK5), and LRRK2 (PARK8). The p.Gly2019Ser (G6055A / G2019S) mutation accounts for 5-10 % of all autosomal dominant Parkinson disease. Apart from point mutations or small truncating mutations also deletions and duplications (not detectable by sequencing or DHPLC) have been described in SNCA, making quantitative gene testing (eg MLPA) for SNCA necessary. • Autosomal recessive Parkinson disease : 3 genes have been shown to
cause autosomal recessive Parkinson disease: PARK2 (PARK2), DJ-1 (PARK7), and PINK1 (PARK6). Parkinson disease due to PARK2 mutation in Parkin are responsible for about 50 % of autosomal recessive Parkinson disease and 18% of parkinsonism in individuals without a family history with onset before age 45 years. Parkin-associated disease is characterized by early onset (before age 40), marked response to levodopa treatment and levodopa-induced dyskinesias. Apart from point mutations or small truncating mutations also deletions and duplications (not detectable by sequencing or DHPLC) have been described in Parkin, making quantitative gene testing (eg Parkinson disease due to mutation in DJ-1 (PARK7) or PINK1 (PARK6) is

Di Fonzo A et al. A frequent LRRK2 gene mutation associated with autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease. Lancet. 2005; 365: 412–5. Berg D et al. Alpha-synuclein and Parkinson's disease: implications from the screening of more than 1,900 patients. Mov Disord. 2005; 20: 1191–4. Lücking CB et al. Association between early-onset Parkinson's disease and mutations in the parkin gene. N Engl J Med. 2000; 342: 1560-7. Klein C and Schlossmacher MG. Parkinson disease, 10 years after its genetic revolution: Multiple clues to a complex disorder. Neurology 2007; 69: 2093 - 2104.
Table 1. Different types of Parkinson disease with the proportion of the respective gene, its size, price indication, and test advise Type Gene
Number of Price
p.Gly2019Ser mutation
(Exon 41)
Alpha-synuclein Rare
1680 Test


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