GBA p.T369M substitution in Parkinson disease: Polymorphism or association? A meta-analysis

Neurol Genet. 2016 Sep 8;2(5):e104. doi: 10.1212/NXG.0000000000000104. eCollection 2016 Oct.


The lysosomal enzyme glucocerebrosidase (GCase), encoded by GBA, has an important role in Parkinson disease (PD). GBA mutation carriers have an increased risk for PD, earlier age at onset, faster progression, and various nonmotor symptoms including cognitive decline, REM sleep behavior disorder, hyposmia, and autonomic dysfunction.(1) Furthermore, GCase enzymatic activity is reduced in the peripheral blood(2) and brain(3) of noncarrier, sporadic PD patients. Biallelic GBA mutations, which have been classified as "severe" or "mild," may cause Gaucher disease (GD), a lysosomal storage disorder. Mild mutations may lead to GD type 1, and 2 severe mutations result in neuronopathic GD (type 2 and type 3).(4) There are 2 GBA variants, p.E326K and p.T369M, which do not cause GD in homozygous carriers, but may modify GCase activity and GD phenotype. It is now clear that p.E326K is a risk factor for PD,(5) but whether p.T369M is associated with PD is still controversial. In some studies, the p.T369M substitution was associated with PD,(6) while in others it had similar or increased frequency in controls. Of interest, it was recently demonstrated that the GBA p.T369M substitution was associated with reduced enzymatic activity in patients with PD and controls compared with that in noncarriers (7.64 vs 11.93 μmol/L/h, p < 0.001).(2) Of interest, it was even lower than the average enzymatic activity of the p.E326K substitution, which was 9.81 μmol/L/h. Because clinical trials on GBA-associated PD are ongoing, and because treatment specifically targeting GBA is likely to be available in the future, it is important to determine whether the GBA p.T369M substitution is associated with PD.