Context: The relative contribution of genes vs environment in idiopathic Parkinson disease (PD) is controversial. Although genetic studies have identified 2 genes in which mutations cause rare single-gene variants of PD and observational studies have suggested a genetic component, twin studies have suggested that little genetic contribution exists in the common forms of PD.
Objective: To identify genetic risk factors for idiopathic PD.
Design, setting, and participants: Genetic linkage study conducted 1995-2000 in which a complete genomic screen (n = 344 markers) was performed in 174 families with multiple individuals diagnosed as having idiopathic PD, identified through probands in 13 clinic populations in the continental United States and Australia. A total of 870 family members were studied: 378 diagnosed as having PD, 379 unaffected by PD, and 113 with unclear status.
Main outcome measures: Logarithm of odds (lod) scores generated from parametric and nonparametric genetic linkage analysis.
Results: Two-point parametric maximum parametric lod score (MLOD) and multipoint nonparametric lod score (LOD) linkage analysis detected significant evidence for linkage to 5 distinct chromosomal regions: chromosome 6 in the parkin gene (MLOD = 5.07; LOD = 5.47) in families with at least 1 individual with PD onset at younger than 40 years, chromosomes 17q (MLOD = 2.28; LOD = 2.62), 8p (MLOD = 2.01; LOD = 2.22), and 5q (MLOD = 2.39; LOD = 1.50) overall and in families with late-onset PD, and chromosome 9q (MLOD = 1.52; LOD = 2.59) in families with both levodopa-responsive and levodopa-nonresponsive patients.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that the parkin gene is important in early-onset PD and that multiple genetic factors may be important in the development of idiopathic late-onset PD.