BACKGROUND: Parkinson's disease (PD) is the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder, characterized clinically by resting tremor, bradykinesia, postural instability and rigidity. The prevalence of PD is approximately 2% of the population over 65 years of age and 1.7 million PD patients (age > or = 55 years) live in China. Recently, a common LRRK2 variant Gly2385Arg was reported in ethnic Chinese PD population in Taiwan. We analyzed the frequency of this variant in our independent PD case-control population of Han Chinese from Taiwan.
METHODS: 305 patients and 176 genetically unrelated healthy controls were examined by neurologists and the diagnosis of PD was based on the published criteria. The region of interest was amplified with standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR fragments then were directly sequenced in both forward and reverse directions. Differences in genotype frequencies between groups were assessed by the X2 test, while X2 analysis was used to test for the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium.
RESULTS: Of the 305 patients screened we identified 27 (9%) with heterozygous G2385R variant. This mutation was only found in 1 (0.5%) in our healthy control samples (odds ratio = 16.99, 95% CI: 2.29 to 126.21, p = 0.0002). Sequencing of the entire open reading frame of LRRK2 in G2385R carriers revealed no other variants.
CONCLUSION: These data suggest that the G2385R variant contributes significantly to the etiology of PD in ethnic Han Chinese individuals. With consideration of the enormous and expanding aging Chinese population in mainland China and in Taiwan, this variant is probably the most common known genetic factor for PD worldwide.
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