Influence of homozygosity for methionine at codon 129 of the human prion gene on the onset of neurological and hepatic symptoms in Wilson disease

Arch Neurol. 2006 Jul;63(7):982-5. doi: 10.1001/archneur.63.7.982.


Background: The clinical heterogeneity of Wilson disease expression cannot be fully explained by the various mutations of the Wilson disease gene. The prion-related protein (PrP) has been shown to bind copper in vitro and might therefore influence Wilson disease.

Objective: To examine the effect of the PrP polymorphism at codon 129, resulting in either methionine or valine (M129V), on the clinical phenotype of patients with Wilson disease.

Design and setting: Retrospective cross-sectional study at a university hospital.

Participants: A total of 134 patients were grouped according to their PrP M129V genotypes and initial clinical symptoms (hepatic vs neurological).

Results: The onset of symptoms was significantly delayed in patients homozygous for the 129M allele as compared with patients with at least 1 V allele (mean +/- SD age, 20.90 +/- 11.9 years vs 15.5 +/- 7.6 years; P = .003). No significant correlation was found when analyzing the impact of the PrP M129V genotype on the clinical symptoms at initial manifestation (hepatic vs neurological; P = .44).

Conclusion: This study shows for the first time, to our knowledge, that the human PrP polymorphism M129V influences the onset of symptoms in patients with the copper storage disorder Wilson disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Apolipoprotein E3
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Codon
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / complications
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / genetics*
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / metabolism
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / etiology
  • Liver Diseases / genetics
  • Liver Diseases / metabolism
  • Male
  • Methionine / genetics
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Prions / genetics*
  • Prions / metabolism
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Apolipoprotein E3
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Codon
  • Prions
  • Copper
  • Methionine