X-Linked Parkinsonism: Phenotypic and Genetic Heterogeneity

Mov Disord. 2021 Jul;36(7):1511-1525. doi: 10.1002/mds.28565. Epub 2021 May 7.


X-linked parkinsonism encompasses rare heterogeneous disorders mainly inherited as a recessive trait, therefore being more prevalent in males. Recent developments have revealed a complex underlying panorama, including a spectrum of disorders in which parkinsonism is variably associated with additional neurological and non-neurological signs. In particular, a childhood-onset encephalopathy with epilepsy and/or cognitive disability is the most common feature. Their genetic basis is also heterogeneous, with many causative genes and different mutation types ranging from "classical" coding variants to intronic repeat expansions. In this review, we provide an updated overview of the phenotypic and genetic spectrum of the most relevant X-linked parkinsonian syndromes, namely X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism (XDP, Lubag disease), fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS), beta-propeller protein-associated neurodegeneration (BPAN, NBIA/PARK-WDR45), Fabry disease, Waisman syndrome, methyl CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) spectrum disorder, phosphoglycerate kinase-1 deficiency syndrome (PGK1) and X-linked parkinsonism and spasticity (XPDS). All clinical and radiological features reported in the literature have been reviewed. Epilepsy occasionally represents the symptom of onset, predating parkinsonism even by a few years; action tremor is another common feature along with akinetic-rigid parkinsonism. A focus on the genetic background and its pathophysiological implications is provided. The pathogenesis of these disorders ranges from well-defined metabolic alterations (PGK1) to non-specific lysosomal dysfunctions (XPDS) and vesicular trafficking alterations (Waisman syndrome). However, in other cases it still remains poorly defined. Recognition of the phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity of X-linked parkinsonism has important implications for diagnosis, management, and genetic counseling. © 2021 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

Keywords: BPAN; FXTAS; MeCP2; X-linked parkinsonism; XDP.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Child
  • Dystonic Disorders*
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked* / genetics
  • Genetic Heterogeneity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease*
  • Parkinsonian Disorders* / genetics


  • Carrier Proteins
  • WDR45 protein, human