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Original Investigation |

Comparison of Parkinson Risk in Ashkenazi Jewish Patients With Gaucher Disease and GBA Heterozygotes

Roy N. Alcalay, MD, MS1; Tama Dinur, PhD2; Timothy Quinn, BS1; Karina Sakanaka, BA1; Oren Levy, MD, PhD1; Cheryl Waters, MD1; Stanley Fahn, MD1; Tsvyatko Dorovski, MS, MBA3; Wendy K. Chung, MD, PhD4,5; Michael Pauciulo, MBA5; William Nichols, PhD6,7; Huma Q. Rana, MD8; Manisha Balwani, MD, MS8; Louise Bier, MS8; Deborah Elstein, PhD2; Ari Zimran, MD2
[+] Author Affiliations
1The Taub Institute, Department of Neurology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York
2Gaucher Clinic, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
3Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York
4Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York
5Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York
6Division of Human Genetics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
7Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
8Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York
JAMA Neurol. 2014;71(6):752-757. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.313.
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Importance  Information on age-specific risk for Parkinson disease (PD) in patients with Gaucher disease (GD) and glucocerebrosidase (GBA) heterozygotes is important for understanding the pathophysiology of the genetic association and for counseling these populations.

Objective  To estimate the age-specific risk for PD in Ashkenazi Jewish patients with type 1 GD and in GBA heterozygotes.

Design, Setting, and Participants  The study included patients with GD from 2 tertiary centers, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel (n = 332) and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York (n = 95). GBA noncarrier non-PD spouse control participants were recruited at the Center for Parkinson’s Disease at Columbia University, New York (n = 77). All participants were Ashekanzi Jewish and most patients (98.1%) with GD carried at least 1 N370S mutation.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The main outcome measure was a diagnosis of PD. Diagnosis was established in patients with GD on examination. We used a validated family history interview that identifies PD with a sensitivity of 95.5% and specificity of 96.2% to identify PD in family members. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were used to estimate age-specific PD risk among patients with GD (n = 427), among their parents who are obligate GBA mutation carriers (heterozygotes, n = 694), and among noncarriers (parents of non-PD, non-GD control participants, n = 154). The age-specific risk was compared among groups using the log-rank test.

Results  Among those who developed PD, patients with GD had a younger age at onset than GBA heterozygotes (mean, 54.2 vs 65.2 years, respectively; P = .003). Estimated age-specific risk for PD at 60 and 80 years of age was 4.7% and 9.1% among patients with GD, 1.5% and 7.7% among heterozygotes, and 0.7% and 2.1% among noncarriers, respectively. The risk for PD was higher in patients with GD than noncarriers (P = .008, log-rank test) and in heterozygotes than noncarriers (P = .03, log-rank test), but it did not reach statistical significance between patients with GD and GBA heterozygotes (P = .07, log-rank test).

Conclusions and Relevance  Patients with GD and GBA heterozygotes have an increased age-specific risk for PD compared with control individuals, with a similar magnitude of PD risk by 80 years of age; however, the number of mutant alleles may play an important role in age at PD onset.

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Kaplan-Meier Survival Curves

Survival free of Parkinson disease among patients with Gaucher disease, obligate GBA carriers (parents of patients with Gaucher disease), and noncarriers (parents of noncarrier control participants).

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