Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a complex disorder caused by genetic, environmental and age-related factors, and it is more prevalent in men. We aimed to identify differentially expressed genes in peripheral blood leukocytes (PBLs) that might be involved in PD pathogenesis. Transcriptomes of 30 female PD-patients and 29 age- and sex-matched controls were profiled using GeneChip Human Exon 1.0 ST Arrays. Samples were from unrelated Ashkenazi individuals, non-carriers of LRRK2 G2019S or GBA founder mutations.
Results: Differential expression was detected in 115 genes (206 exons), with over-representation of immune response annotations. Thirty genes were related to B cell functions, including the uniquely B cell-expressed IGHM and IGHD, the B cell surface molecules CD19, CD22 and CD79A, and the B cell gene regulator, PAX5. Quantitative-RT-PCR confirmation of these 6 genes in 79 individuals demonstrated decreased expression, mainly in women patients, independent of PD-pharmacotherapy status.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that the down regulation of genes related to B cell activity reflect the involvement of these cells in PD in Ashkenazi individuals and represents a molecular aspect of gender-specificity in PD.