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Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2009 Dec;15 Suppl 3:S1-5. doi: 10.1016/S1353-8020(09)70769-2.

Neuropathology of non-motor features of Parkinson disease.

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Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA.


Non-motor manifestations of Parkinson disease (PD) are common and some may actually antedate motor dysfunction. Extrapyramidal signs in PD are tightly linked to striatonigral dopaminergic denervation associated with neuronal loss and Lewy bodies in the residual neurons of the substantia nigra. Lewy bodies composed of abnormal alpha-synuclein are the histologic hallmark of PD, and their presence beyond midbrain dopaminergic neurons is considered to be the pathologic substrate of many, if not all, of the non-motor manifestations of PD. We review the pathologic correlates of autonomic dysfunction (cardiac and gastrointestinal), hyposmia, depression, rapid eye movement behavior disorder and dementia in PD For each non-motor clinical feature there is strong evidence to suggest a role for alpha-synuclein pathology, lending further support for the notion that PD is a multisystem alpha-synucleinopathy.

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