Peripheral neuropathy and parkinsonism: a large clinical and pathogenic spectrum

J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2014 Dec;19(4):333-42. doi: 10.1111/jns.12099.


Peripheral neuropathy (PN) has been reported in idiopathic and hereditary forms of parkinsonism, but the pathogenic mechanisms are unclear and likely heterogeneous. Levodopa-induced vitamin B12 deficiency has been discussed as a causal factor of PN in idiopathic Parkinson's disease, but peripheral nervous system involvement might also be a consequence of the underlying neurodegenerative process. Occurrence of PN with parkinsonism has been associated with a panel of mitochondrial cytopathies, more frequently related to a nuclear gene defect and mainly polymerase gamma (POLG1) gene. Parkin (PARK2) gene mutations are responsible for juvenile parkinsonism, and possible peripheral nervous system involvement has been reported. Rarely, an association of parkinsonism with PN may be encountered in other neurodegenerative diseases such as fragile X-associated tremor and ataxia syndrome related to premutation CGG repeat expansion in the fragile X mental retardation (FMR1) gene, Machado-Joseph disease related to an abnormal CAG repeat expansion in ataxin-3 (ATXN3) gene, Kufor-Rakeb syndrome caused by mutations in ATP13A2 gene, or in hereditary systemic disorders such as Gaucher disease due to mutations in the β-glucocerebrosidase (GBA) gene and Chediak-Higashi syndrome due to LYST gene mutations. This article reviews conditions in which PN may coexist with parkinsonism.

Keywords: levodopa; mitochondrial cytopathy; parkin; parkinsonism; peripheral neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology*