Gender ratio differences between Parkinson's disease patients and their affected relatives

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2001 Apr;7(2):129-133. doi: 10.1016/s1353-8020(00)00029-8.


Mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson's disease (PD) is suspected to arise from either acquired or inherited mutation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). If inherited, epidemiologic analysis may reveal maternal transmission. We looked for maternal inheritance bias in our PD clinical database. About 13% of 600 PD probands reported an affected parent. Although 60% of the PD probands were male, only 42% of the affected parents were. The gender ratios for the proband and affected parent generations were dissimilar (p<0.005), indicating an underrepresentation of affected fathers or an overrepresentation of affected mothers. To address these possibilities we analyzed a non-PD control cohort. Four percent of the controls had a PD affected parent, and 75% of these affected parents were male. Apparent maternal inheritance bias in our PD cohort is therefore more likely due to overrepresentation of affected mothers, and is consistent with mitochondrial inheritance in some of our ascertained cases.