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Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2009 Aug;15(7):539-41. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2008.10.008. Epub 2008 Nov 28.

Genetic factors influencing age at onset in LRRK2-linked Parkinson disease.

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Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of Tübingen, Germany.


Patients with Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) linked Parkinson's disease (PD) clinically present with typical idiopathic PD. However, LRRK2-linked PD displays a pleomorphic neuropathology and high variability in age at disease onset (AAO) which suggests that environmental and/or genetic factors other than the mutation itself influence the course of the disease. We investigated the modulation of AAO by genetic factors including the mutation-containing domain and PD associated polymorphisms in the gene coding alpha-synuclein (SNCA) and tau (MAPT) in 44 patients from 19 affected families. Using this limited number of available LRRK2 mutation carriers, we provide evidence that mutations in the kinase domain of Lrrk2 significantly decrease AAO compared to mutations in the ROC (Ras/GTPase of complex proteins) domain. Furthermore, polymorphic variations in MAPT show a significant association with AAO in individuals with LRRK2 mutations. Our results await replication in future studies with a larger number of LRRK2 mutation carriers, but indicate an association of mutation-affected protein domain and mutation-extrinsic genetic factors with AAO and suggest that these factors could contribute to explain the phenotypic heterogeneity observed in LRRK2-linked PD.

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