Differential effects of severe vs mild GBA mutations on Parkinson disease

Neurology. 2015 Mar 3;84(9):880-7. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001315. Epub 2015 Feb 4.


Objective: To better define the genotype-phenotype correlations between the type of GBA (glucosidase, beta, acid) mutation, severe or mild, and the risk and age at onset (AAO), and potential mechanism of Parkinson disease (PD).

Methods: We analyzed 1,000 patients of Ashkenazi-Jewish descent with PD for 7 founder GBA mutations, and conducted a meta-analysis of risk and AAO according to GBA genotype (severe or mild mutation). The meta-analysis included 11,453 patients with PD and 14,565 controls from worldwide populations. The statistical analysis was done with and without continuity correction (constant or empirical), considering biases that could potentially affect the results.

Results: Among Ashkenazi-Jewish patients with PD, the odds ratios for PD were 2.2 and 10.3 for mild and severe GBA mutation carriers, respectively. The observed frequency of severe GBA mutation carriers among patients with PD was more than 4-fold than expected (4.4% vs 0.9%, respectively, p < 0.0001, Fisher exact test). In the different models of the meta-analysis, the odds ratios for PD ranged between 2.84 and 4.94 for mild GBA mutation carriers and 9.92 and 21.29 for severe GBA mutation carriers (p < 1 × 10(-6) for all analyses). Pooled analysis demonstrated AAO of 53.1 (±11.2) and 58.1 (±10.6) years for severe and mild GBA mutation carriers, respectively (p = 4.3 × 10(-5)).

Conclusions: These data demonstrate that mild and severe heterozygous GBA mutations differentially affect the risk and the AAO of PD. Our results have important implications for genetic counseling and clinical follow-up.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Glucosylceramidase / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Jews / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics*
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Glucosylceramidase