Objective: To assess the prevalence, nature, and associated phenotypes of ATP13A2 gene mutations among patients with juvenile parkinsonism (onset <21 years) or young onset (between 21 and 40 years) Parkinson disease (YOPD).
Methods: We studied 46 patients, mostly from Italy or Brazil, including 11 with juvenile parkinsonism and 35 with YOPD. Thirty-three cases were sporadic and 13 had positive family history compatible with autosomal recessive inheritance. Forty-two had only parkinsonian signs, while four (all juvenile-onset) had multisystemic involvement. The whole ATP13A2 coding region (29 exons) and exon-intron boundaries were sequenced from genomic DNA.
Results: A novel homozygous missense mutation (Gly504Arg) was identified in one sporadic case from Brazil with juvenile parkinsonism. This patient had symptoms onset at age 12, levodopa-responsive severe akinetic-rigid parkinsonism, levodopa-induced motor fluctuations and dyskinesias, severe visual hallucinations, and supranuclear vertical gaze paresis, but no pyramidal deficit nor dementia. Brain CT scan showed moderate diffuse atrophy. Furthermore, two Italian cases with YOPD without atypical features carried a novel missense mutation (Thr12Met, Gly533Arg) in single heterozygous state.
Conclusions: We confirm that ATP13A2 homozygous mutations are associated with human parkinsonism, and expand the associated genotypic and clinical spectrum, by describing a homozygous missense mutation in this gene in a patient with a phenotype milder than that initially associated with ATP13A2 mutations (Kufor-Rakeb syndrome). Our data also suggest that ATP13A2 single heterozygous mutations might be etiologically relevant for patients with YOPD and further studies of this gene in Parkinson disease are warranted.