Bdnf variant is associated with milder motor symptom severity in early-stage Parkinson's disease

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2018 Aug;53:70-75. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2018.05.003. Epub 2018 May 9.


Introduction: Parkinson's disease (PD) progression is heterogeneous. Variants in PD-related genes may alter disease progression or severity. We examined if the single nucleotide variant rs6265 in the gene Bdnf alters clinical phenotype in early-stage, unmedicated PD.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted using data collected in the Deprenyl And Tocopherol Antioxidative Therapy Of Parkinsonism (DATATOP) study. DNA samples (n = 217) were genotyped for the Bdnf rs6265 variant, and the primary endpoint was time to initiate levodopa. The Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) was used for validation (n = 383).

Results: The primary endpoint of time to initiate levodopa was associated with a delay in subjects with two copies of the rs6265 minor (Met66) allele (HR: 4.9; 95% CI: 1.3-18.8). Secondary endpoints were not different among genotypes. PPMI subjects with two Met66 alleles demonstrated significantly lower total and part III Movement Disorder Society - United Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS) scores at baseline, as well as more tremor-related symptoms, but not a delay in initiation of maintenance pharmacotherapy.

Conclusions: Data from two distinct, unmedicated, early-stage PD cohorts suggest that carrying two copies of the rs6265 Met66 allele (∼4% of the population) is associated with less severity in motor symptoms and potentially a slower rate of progression.

Keywords: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Levodopa; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Val66Met; rs6265.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antiparkinson Agents / adverse effects
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Time Factors


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Levodopa
  • BDNF protein, human