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Brain. 2003 Jun;126(Pt 6):1279-92.

Parkin disease: a phenotypic study of a large case series.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Pathogenesis, Royal Free Hospital and University College Medical School, London, UK.


Mutations in the parkin gene, PARK2, are a common cause of parkinsonism in familial as well as isolated cases with an age of onset <40 years and should be considered in the diagnostic work up of young-onset parkinsonism. We report a detailed clinical evaluation of a personal series of 24 patients with mutations in the parkin gene. The clinical presentation of most cases was broadly comparable to that of previous descriptions of autosomal recessive early-onset or juvenile parkinsonism and young-onset Parkinson's disease and also had similarities with phenotypes of dopa-responsive dystonia. However, our only case with consanguineous parents had an age of onset of 54 years. We report three new phenotypes at presentation: cervical dystonia; autonomic dysfunction and peripheral neuropathy; and pure exercise-induced dystonia. We emphasize a number of clinical features that can be seen in parkin disease: focal dystonia; early instability; freezing; festination or retropulsion; concurrent autonomic failure; dramatic response to anticholinergics; early or atypical L-dopa-induced dyskinesias; exquisite sensitivity to small doses of L-dopa; and recurrent psychosis, even taking L-dopa alone. We also report behavioural disorder prior to the onset of parkinsonism. Some relatives carrying a single parkin mutation without extrapyramidal symptoms or signs also had psychiatric symptoms that might be related to their carrier status.

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