Molecular genetics of familial parkinsonism

Z. K. Wszolek, K. Markopoulou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder associated with tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia, and postural instability. There exists a familial form of PD that is indistinguishable from the sporadic form. In addition, there exists a class of syndromes classified as parkinsonism-plus syndromes (PPS), in which parkinsonism is an essential but not the only phenotypic characteristic. The etiology of PD remains unclear. Both environmental and genetic factors contribute to the disease pathogenesis. Recent progress in the molecular genetics of parkinsonism has demonstrated that six different chromosomal regions are associated with forms of familial parkinsonism. Mutations in four candidate genes have been identified and include both point mutations and deletions. Both gain-of-function and loss-of-function mutational mechanisms have been implicated. The molecular genetic characterization has led to a new classification of PD and PPS based on the type of genetic defect. Understanding the mechanisms by which these mutations lead to disease should provide further insights into the etiology of parkinsonism. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-155
Number of pages11
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Idiopathic parkinsonism
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Parkinsonism-plus syndromes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


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