Decreased NURR1 gene expression in patients with Parkinson's disease

J Neurol Sci. 2008 Oct 15;273(1-2):29-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2008.06.007. Epub 2008 Aug 5.


NURR1 is a transcription factor essential for the development, survival, and functional maintenance of midbrain dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons and NURR1 is a potential susceptibility gene for Parkinson's disease (PD). To determine whether NURR1 gene expression is altered in patients with PD, we measured its expression in human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) in 278 patients with PD, 166 healthy controls (HC), and 256 neurological disease controls (NDC) by quantitative real-time PCR. NURR1 gene expression was significantly decreased in patients with PD (particularly those with family history of PD) as compared with HC (p<0.01) and also as compared with NDC (p<0.05). There was no significant difference in NURR1 gene expression among PD patients with or without anti-PD medications. When adjusted for gender, age, and ethnicity, lower levels of NURR1 gene expression were associated with significantly increased risk for PD in women, in patients 60 years old or older, and in patients of Caucasian origin. The observed reduction in PBL NURR1 gene expression indicates possible systemic involvement in PD, and the finding may help identify individuals with PD and other disorders associated with impaired central DAergic system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nuclear Receptor Subfamily 4, Group A, Member 2
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics*
  • Sex Factors
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • NR4A2 protein, human
  • Nuclear Receptor Subfamily 4, Group A, Member 2
  • Transcription Factors