Parkinson's disease: The genetics of a heterogeneous disorder

D. Gosal, O. A. Ross, M. Toft

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Since the first description of Parkinson's disease (PD) in 1817 attempts have been made to resolve the etiology of this common neurodegenerative disorder. In the last century the influence of heredity in PD was controversial. The identification of mutations in six genes responsible for Mendelian forms of PD; α-synuclein (SNCA), parkin (PRKN), ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1), oncogene DJ-1, PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1), and most recently leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), has confirmed the role of genetics in familial forms of the disease. The exact relationship of these familial disorders and related genes to the more common sporadic form is currently uncertain. The identification of LRRK2 mutations and the association of common variants in SNCA and UCH-L1 in apparently sporadic late-onset disease indicate these genes may be of greater importance than previously believed. The protein products of the six genes are involved in different pathways of neurodegeneration and have opened new avenues of research. This focused research will lead to the development of novel targeted therapies, which may revolutionize the treatment of PD for a substantial proportion of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-627
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006


  • Genetics
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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