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See detailMissing heritability in Parkinson’s disease: the emerging role of non‑coding genetic variation
Ohnmacht, Jochen UL; May, Patrick UL; Sinkkonen, Lasse UL et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2020)

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. For the stratification of PD patients and the development of advanced clinical ... [more ▼]

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. For the stratification of PD patients and the development of advanced clinical trials, including causative treatments, a better understanding of the underlying genetic architecture of PD is required. Despite substantial efforts, genome-wide association studies have not been able to explain most of the observed heritability. The majority of PD-associated genetic variants are located in non-coding regions of the genome. A systematic assessment of their functional role is hampered by our incomplete understanding of genotype-phenotype correlations, for example through differential regulation of gene expression. Here, the recent progress and remaining challenges for the elucidation of the role of non-coding genetic variants is reviewed with a focus on PD as a complex disease with multifactorial origins. The function of gene regulatory elements and the impact of non-coding variants on them, and the means to map these elements on a genome-wide level, will be delineated. Moreover, examples of how the integration of functional genomic annotations can serve to identify disease-associated pathways and to prioritize disease- and cell type-specific regulatory variants will be given. Finally, strategies for functional validation and considerations for suitable model systems are outlined. Together this emphasizes the contribution of rare and common genetic variants to the complex pathogenesis of PD and points to remaining challenges for the dissection of genetic complexity that may allow for better stratification, improved diagnostics and more targeted treatments for PD in the future. [less ▲]

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See detailα-Synuclein in Parkinson's disease: causal or bystander?
Krüger, Rejko UL; Riederer, Peter; Berg, Daniela et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2019)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) comprises a spectrum of disorders with differing subtypes, the vast majority of which share Lewy bodies (LB) as a characteristic pathological hallmark. The process(es) underlying ... [more ▼]

Parkinson’s disease (PD) comprises a spectrum of disorders with differing subtypes, the vast majority of which share Lewy bodies (LB) as a characteristic pathological hallmark. The process(es) underlying LB generation and its causal trigger molecules are not yet fully understood. α-Synuclein (α-syn) is a major component of LB and SNCA gene missense mutations or duplications/triplications are causal for rare hereditary forms of PD. As typical sporadic PD is associated with LB pathology, a factor of major importance is the study of the α-syn protein and its pathology. α-Syn pathology is, however, also evident in multiple system atrophy (MSA) and Lewy body disease (LBD), making it non-specific for PD. In addition, there is an overlap of these α-synucleinopathies with other protein-misfolding diseases. It has been proven that α-syn, phosphorylated tau protein (pτ), amyloid beta (Aβ) and other proteins show synergistic effects in the underlying pathogenic mechanisms. Multiple cell death mechanisms can induce pathological protein-cascades, but this can also be a reverse process. This holds true for the early phases of the disease process and especially for the progression of PD. In conclusion, while rare SNCA gene mutations are causal for a minority of familial PD patients, in sporadic PD (where common SNCA polymorphisms are the most consistent genetic risk factor across populations worldwide, accounting for 95% of PD patients) α-syn pathology is an important feature. Conversely, with regard to the etiopathogenesis of α-synucleinopathies PD, MSA and LBD, α-syn is rather a bystander contributing to multiple neurodegenerative processes, which overlap in their composition and individual strength. Therapeutic developments aiming to impact on α-syn pathology should take this fact into consideration. [less ▲]

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See detailClassification of advanced stages of Parkinson's disease: translation into stratified treatments.
Krüger, Rejko UL; Klucken, Jochen; Weiss, Daniel et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2017), 124(124), 1015-1027

Advanced stages of Parkinson's disease (advPD) still impose a challenge in terms of classification and related stage-adapted treatment recommendations. Previous concepts that define advPD by certain ... [more ▼]

Advanced stages of Parkinson's disease (advPD) still impose a challenge in terms of classification and related stage-adapted treatment recommendations. Previous concepts that define advPD by certain milestones of motor disability apparently fall short in addressing the increasingly recognized complexity of motor and non-motor symptoms and do not allow to account for the clinical heterogeneity that require more personalized approaches. Therefore, deep phenotyping approaches are required to characterize the broad-scaled, continuous and multidimensional spectrum of disease-related motor and non-motor symptoms and their progression under real-life conditions. This will also facilitate the reasoning for clinical care and therapeutic decisions, as neurologists currently have to refer to clinical trials that provide guidance on a group level; however, this does not always account for the individual needs of patients. Here, we provide an overview on different classifications for advPD that translate into critical phenotypic patterns requiring the differential therapeutic adjustments. New concepts refer to precision medicine approaches also in PD and first studies on genetic stratification for therapeutic outcomes provide a potential for more objective treatment recommendations. We define novel treatment targets that align with this concept and make use of emerging device-based assessments of real-life information on PD symptoms. As these approaches require empowerment of patients and integration into treatment decisions, we present communication strategies and decision support based on new technologies to adjust treatment of advPD according to patient demands and safety. [less ▲]

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See detailAdvanced stages of PD: interventional therapies and related patient-centered care
Krüger, Rejko UL; Hilker, Rudiger; Winkler, Christian et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2016)

During the last decades, symptomatic treatment of motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) improved continuously and is reflected by long-range independency of the patient during the disease course ... [more ▼]

During the last decades, symptomatic treatment of motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) improved continuously and is reflected by long-range independency of the patient during the disease course. However, advanced stages of PD still represent an important challenge to patients, caregivers and treating physicians. In patients with advanced PD, interventional therapy strategies are increasingly applied. These device-related treatment strategies using pump-based continuous dopaminergic stimulation (CDS) or deep brain stimulation (DBS) opened new treatment options especially if motor complications predominate. Well-designed clinical studies on these interventional therapeutic approaches provided class 1 evidence for the efficacy of DBS and CDS in advanced PD and opened new perspectives for their use in earlier disease stages also. Therefore, careful selection of patients amenable to the (semi)invasive therapy options becomes more and more important and requires an interdisciplinary setting that accounts for (i) optimal patient information and awareness, (ii) selection of best individual treatment modality, (iii) training of relatives and caregivers, (iv) management of complications, and (v) follow-up care. Here, we address these topics by summarizing current state-of-the-art in patient selection, providing specificities of treatment options and troubleshooting, and defining steps towards an optimized patient-centered care. Interventional therapies pioneer in the area of individualized treatment approaches for PD, and may be complemented in the future by biomarker-based improved stratification and by closed-loop systems for adaptive therapeutic strategies. In the present review, we summarize the proceedings of an Expert Workshop on Parkinson's disease held on November 22, 2014 in Frankfurt, Germany. [less ▲]

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See detailSympathetic activity relates to adenosine A2A receptor gene variation in blood-injury phobia
Hohoff, Christa; Domschke, Katharina; Schwarte, Kathrin et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2009), 116

Variation in the candidate genes adenosine A(2A) receptor (A(2A)R), catechol-O-methyl-transferase (COMT), and norepinephrine transporter (NET) has been suggested to influence vulnerability to panic ... [more ▼]

Variation in the candidate genes adenosine A(2A) receptor (A(2A)R), catechol-O-methyl-transferase (COMT), and norepinephrine transporter (NET) has been suggested to influence vulnerability to panic disorder. We therefore investigated patients with another anxiety disorder with an even higher heritability, the blood-injury phobia, for association of these variants and used sympathetic measures during venipuncture, which serve as a naturalistic trigger of anxiety and autonomic hyperarousal, as an intermediate phenotype of anxiety. Patients homozygous for the A(2A)R 1976T allele as compared to patients carrying at least one 1976C allele exhibited a significantly increased respiratory rate with a trend towards elevated measures of systolic and diastolic blood pressure and respiratory minute volume. None of the sympathetic measures were influenced by the COMT or NET polymorphisms.This study provides preliminary data suggesting an influence of the A(2A)R 1976C/T polymorphism on sympathetic psychophysiological indicators of anxiety-related arousal in blood-injury phobia and thereby further supports a role of the A(2A)R gene in the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders. [less ▲]

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See detailMicroarray expression analysis reveals genetic pathways implicated in C621 synphilin-1-mediated toxicity.
Bonin, M.; Marx, F. P.; Kautzmann, S. et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2008), 115(7), 941-58

Synphilin-1 has been linked to Parkinson's disease (PD) based on its role as an alpha-synuclein (PARK1) and Parkin (PARK2) interacting protein and its presence in lewy bodies in brains of PD patients. We ... [more ▼]

Synphilin-1 has been linked to Parkinson's disease (PD) based on its role as an alpha-synuclein (PARK1) and Parkin (PARK2) interacting protein and its presence in lewy bodies in brains of PD patients. We recently identified a R621C mutation in the synphilin-1 gene in German PD patients. Functional analyses revealed that mutant synphilin-1 increases cellular stress, however, the involved molecular signalling pathways are currently unknown. Using microarray based gene expression analysis of dopaminergic SH-SY5Y cells overexpressing wild type or R621C mutant synphilin-1 we investigated differentially regulated genes and signalling networks using the Ingenuity Pathways Analysis tool. We show specific effects of C621 mutant synphilin-1 on gene expression that correlate with its role as a susceptibility factor in PD. The most significantly regulated signalling network was defined by the tumor growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta1) suggesting an involvement of synphilin-1 in TGF-beta mediated signalling pathways modulating the cellular stress response. [less ▲]

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See detailA comprehensive genetic study of the proteasomal subunit S6 ATPase in German Parkinson's disease patients.
Wahl, Claudia; Kautzmann, Sabine; Krebiehl, Guido et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2008), 115(8), 1141-8

Dysfunction of proteasomal protein degradation is involved in neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently we identified the regulatory proteasomal subunit S6 ATPase as a novel interactor of ... [more ▼]

Dysfunction of proteasomal protein degradation is involved in neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently we identified the regulatory proteasomal subunit S6 ATPase as a novel interactor of synphilin-1, which is a substrate of the ubiquitin-ligase Parkin (PARK2) and an interacting protein of alpha-synuclein (PARK1). To further investigate a potential role in the pathogenesis of PD, we performed a detailed mutation analysis of the S6 ATPase gene in a large sample of 486 German sporadic and familial PD patients. Direct sequencing revealed two novel intronic variants. An insertion/deletion variant in intron 5 of the S6 ATPase gene was more frequent in patients compared to controls. Moreover, this variant was significantly more frequent in early-onset compared to late-onset PD patients. The identification of a genetic link between a regulatory proteasomal subunit and PD further underscores the relevance of disturbed protein degradation in PD. [less ▲]

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See detailThe role of alpha-synuclein gene multiplications in early-onset Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.
Hofer, A.; Berg, D.; Asmus, F. et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2005), 112(9), 1249-54

BACKGROUND: A triplication of the alpha-synuclein gene was found to cause autosomal dominant Lewy body disease in two distinct families. METHOD: We searched for alterations of alpha-synuclein gene dosage ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: A triplication of the alpha-synuclein gene was found to cause autosomal dominant Lewy body disease in two distinct families. METHOD: We searched for alterations of alpha-synuclein gene dosage and analysed the entire coding region for point mutations in 54 dementia with Lewy body disease (DLB) and in 103 young onset Parkinson's disease (PD) patients from Central Europe. RESULTS: We could not detect any quantitative alterations in the gene dosage of alpha-synuclein. Mutational screening of the entire coding region of alpha-synuclein revealed only one silent mutation V3V (adenine9guanine) in one case. CONCLUSIONS: Thus, this phenomenon appears not to be a major cause in the pathogenesis of sporadic DLB and young onset PD in this European population. [less ▲]

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See detailAntiapoptotic effects of budipine.
Muller, T.; Przuntek, H.; Krüger, Rejko UL et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2004), 111(10-11), 1365-73

Apoptosis is one essential step for neuronal death in the nigrostriatal region in patients with Parkinson's disease. Cytotoxic tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and the proinflammatory cytokine ... [more ▼]

Apoptosis is one essential step for neuronal death in the nigrostriatal region in patients with Parkinson's disease. Cytotoxic tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (Il-6) provide a proapoptotic environment. We investigated the influence of the antiparkinsonian compound budipine on the release of TNF-alpha and Il-6 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and on the degree of cisplatin induced apoptotic cell death in SH-SY 5Y human neuroblastoma cells. 10(-7), 10(-8), 10(-9) mol/l of budipine significantly reduced release of TNF-alpha and Il-6 in PBMC and decreased apoptotic cell death after 50 hours and 74 hours in the SH-SY 5Y cells. Our results suggest, that budipine administration provides an antiapoptotic environment and slows neuronal apoptotic and inflammatory mediated loss of neurons. [less ▲]

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See detailModulation of disease risk according to a cathepsin D / apolipoprotein E genotype in Parkinson's disease.
Schulte, T.; Bohringer, S.; Schols, L. et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2003), 110(7), 749-55

Aspartyl protease Cathepsin D (CTSD) has been suggested to play a role in the pathogenesis of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) due to interference with protein degradation mechanisms. A C224T (A38V ... [more ▼]

Aspartyl protease Cathepsin D (CTSD) has been suggested to play a role in the pathogenesis of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) due to interference with protein degradation mechanisms. A C224T (A38V) polymorphism in exon 2 of the CTSD gene is reported to be associated with an increased risk for AD. The partially overlapping pathology between AD and Parkinson's disease (PD) led us to investigate the role of this polymorphism in PD. Using association studies in 457 German PD patients and 340 controls we found no evidence for direct association between the CTSD genotype and PD. However, stratification for the apolipoprotein E (APOE) epsilon4 allele suggests a protective effect of the CTSD T-allele in PD (OR = 0.24, p = 0.002). Our findings suggest interference of CTSD and APOE polymorphisms in the pathogenesis of PD, in the sense of modulating disease risk. [less ▲]

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See detailPolymorphisms of the alpha-synuclein promoter: expression analyses and association studies in Parkinson's disease.
Holzmann, C.; Krüger, Rejko UL; Saecker, A. M. M. Vieira et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2003), 110(1), 67-76

Mutations of the alpha-synuclein gene have shown to be relevant in some rare families with autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD). Furthermore, alpha-synuclein protein is a major component of the ... [more ▼]

Mutations of the alpha-synuclein gene have shown to be relevant in some rare families with autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD). Furthermore, alpha-synuclein protein is a major component of the Lewy bodies also in sporadic PD patients. Increased levels of wildtype alpha-synuclein in the cell leads to increased intracellular hydrogen peroxide levels and causes death of dopaminergic neurons in rat primary culture. Subsequently, oxidative stress has been directly linked with alpha-synuclein aggregation in vitro. This raises the question whether increased alpha-synuclein expression might be linked to higher susceptibility to PD and whether alpha-synuclein promoter polymorphisms are associated with PD. Here, two polymorphisms (-116C>G and -668T>C) of the alpha-synuclein promoter defining four haplotypes have been characterized in 315 German PD patients. The influence of the four haplotypes on gene expression was studied by CAT reporter gene assays in neuronal SK-N-AS cells. The -668C/-116G haplotype revealed significant higher CAT expression than the -668T/-116G or the -668T/-116C haplotype, respectively. Although the -668C/-116G haplotype was more common in PD patients, this difference was not significant. [less ▲]

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See detailMutation analysis and association studies of nuclear factor-kappaB1 in sporadic Parkinson's disease patients.
Wintermeyer, P.; Riess, O.; Schols, L. et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2002), 109(9), 1181-8

Biochemical and morphological studies revealed that oxidative stress and apoptosis play a role in neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Reactive oxygen species may be directly involved in ... [more ▼]

Biochemical and morphological studies revealed that oxidative stress and apoptosis play a role in neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Reactive oxygen species may be directly involved in apoptosis or via upregulation of toxic cytokines, i.e. tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha). We recently demonstrated that the TNFalpha pathway contributes to the pathogenesis of sporadic PD using a genetic approach. These signalling pathways converge to the transcription factor nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB), which has been found activated in affected neurons in PD. We performed a detailed mutation analysis of the p50 subunit of NF-kappaB (NFKB1 gene) in 96 sporadic PD patients. Previously, positive association was demonstrated in this cohort to chromosome 4q21-23 containing the NFKB1 gene. We identified three base exchanges not affecting the amino acid sequence, which were found at similar frequencies in controls. Our study does not support a genetically definable role of NFKB1 in the pathogenesis of sporadic PD. [less ▲]

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See detailInvolvement of alpha-synuclein in Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Krüger, Rejko UL; Muller, T.; Riess, O.

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2000), 107(1), 31-40

A major step in the elucidation of the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders was the identification of a mutation in the alpha-synuclein gene in autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD). Alpha ... [more ▼]

A major step in the elucidation of the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders was the identification of a mutation in the alpha-synuclein gene in autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD). Alpha-synuclein is the main component of Lewy bodies (LB), the neuropathological hallmark of PD. Moreover, a fragment of alpha-synuclein (NAC) is the second major component of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Recent studies of other neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia with LB (DLB), multiple system atrophy (MSA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also revealed intracellular accumulations of alpha-synuclein in affected brain regions. This may indicate that these disorders partially share common pathogenic mechanisms. Recent data provide first insights into the physiological function of alpha-synuclein and support the concept of an essential role of alpha-synuclein in neurodegeneration. Increasing knowledge on the pathogenic molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration and of the pathophysiological function of alpha-synuclein in particular may influence future development of therapeutic strategies in neurodegenerative disorders. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic analysis of immunomodulating factors in sporadic Parkinson's disease.
Krüger, Rejko UL; Hardt, C.; Tschentscher, F. et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2000), 107(5), 553-62

Immunomodulating factors have been shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) by biochemical methods. In order to investigate functionally important genes of the tumor necrosis ... [more ▼]

Immunomodulating factors have been shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) by biochemical methods. In order to investigate functionally important genes of the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) pathway we studied the frequency of DNA polymorphisms in the interleukin 6 (IL6), the TNFalpha, and the TNFalpha receptor 1 (TNFR1) genes in 264 sporadic German PD patients and in 183 age and sex matched German healthy controls. Analyzing the TNFalpha-308 polymorphism we found heterozygous individuals carrying alleles 1 and 2 more frequently in patients with a relative risk of 1.56 (p = 0.046, p(c) = 0.13, chi2 = 3.98). In contrast, the frequency of the B/2 haplotype described by the TNFR1-609 and TNFRI+36 polymorphisms was significantly decreased in our PD patients group (p = 0.0097, p(c) = 0.048, chi2 = 6.69) with a relative risk reduced to 0.52. Our results suggest an involvement of immunomodulating factors in the pathogenesis of sporadic PD as revealed by a molecular genetic approach. [less ▲]

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See detailThe alpha1-antichymotrypsin A-allele in German Parkinson disease patients.
Grasbon-Frodl, E. M.; Egensperger, R.; Kosel, S. et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (1999), 106(7-8), 729-36

An increased frequency of the A-allele of the alpha-antichymotrypsin (ACT) gene has been recently described in Japanese patients suffering from Parkinson disease (PD). In the present study, we have ... [more ▼]

An increased frequency of the A-allele of the alpha-antichymotrypsin (ACT) gene has been recently described in Japanese patients suffering from Parkinson disease (PD). In the present study, we have analyzed 62 German PD patients with regard to their ACT and APOE genotypes and compared them to 53 controls without clinical or pathological evidence of neurodegenerative disease. The A-allele frequency was 47% in PD patients compared to 54% in control cases excluding ACT as a major susceptibility factor for PD in the Caucasian population. Yet, ACT-A allele frequencies were significantly different (p < 0.001) between Japanese and German controls. Therefore, although our data do not suggest that the alpha1-ACT polymorphism is a significant risk factor for the development of PD, a consideration of differences in genetic background seems warranted when evaluating susceptibility factors for neurodegenerative disease. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalysis of the parkin deletion in sporadic and familial Parkinson's disease. Short communication.
Krüger, Rejko UL; Vieira-Sacker, A. M.; Kuhn, W. et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (1999), 106(2), 159-63

Recently a mutation in the parking gene has been identified as the cause for an autosomal-recessively inherited form of early onset Parkinson's disease (EOPD). The disease causing minimal deletion has ... [more ▼]

Recently a mutation in the parking gene has been identified as the cause for an autosomal-recessively inherited form of early onset Parkinson's disease (EOPD). The disease causing minimal deletion has been defined as a homozygous exon 4 loss in the parkin gene among Japanese patients. We investigated 140 sporadic and familial EOPD patients of German ancestry for the exon 4 deletion in the parkin gene. None of our patients exhibited a homozygous deletion of exon 4, suggesting a minor role of this mutation for EOPD in Caucasians. Nevertheless a detailed mutation analysis is warranted to explore the overall significance of mutations in the parkin gene in EOPD. [less ▲]

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