Carriers of GBA1 gene variants have a significant risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). A cohort study of GBA carriers between 40–75 years of age was initiated to study the presence of prodromal PD features. Participants underwent non-invasive tests to assess different domains of PD. Ninety-eight unrelated GBA carriers were enrolled (43 males) at a median age (range) of 51 (40–74) years; 71 carried the N370S variant (c.1226A > G) and 25 had a positive family history of PD. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was the most frequently abnormal (23.7%, 95% CI 15.7–33.4%), followed by the ultrasound hyperechogenicity (22%, 95% CI 14–32%), Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale part III (UPDRS-III) (17.2%, 95% CI 10.2–26.4%), smell assessment (12.4%, 95% CI 6.6–20.6%) and abnormalities in sleep questionnaires (11%, 95% CI 5.7–19.4%). Significant correlations were found between tests from different domains. To define the risk for PD, we assessed the bottom 10th percentile of each prodromal test, defining this level as “abnormal”. Then we calculated the percentage of “abnormal” tests for each subject; the median (range) was 4.55 (0–43.5%). Twenty-two subjects had more than 15% “abnormal” tests. The limitations of the study included ascertainment bias of individuals with GBA-related PD in relatives, some incomplete data due to technical issues, and a lack of well-characterized normal value ranges in some tests. We plan to enroll additional participants and conduct longitudinal follow-up assessments to build a model for identifying individuals at risk for PD and investigate interventions aiming to delay the onset or perhaps to prevent full-blown PD.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research received a partial grant from Takeda, Israel.
© 2022 by the authors.
- Gaucher disease carriers
- Parkinson’s disease
- carriers of GBA1 variants
- prodromal Parkinson disease