[Mitochondrial DNA and Parkinson disease. Methodologic review]

Arch Anat Cytol Pathol. 1998;46(4):261-8.
[Article in French]


Parkinson's disease (PD), a disorder of unknown etiology, is associated with the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in nigro-striatal pathways. MPTP, a meperidine analog, causes parkinsonism in human and nonhuman primates. MPP+, the active metabolite of MPTP, inhibits the activity of respiratory chain complex I. In patients with PD, a reduced complex I activity was found in substantia nigra, skeletal muscle, and platelets. Because complex I is partially encoded by the mitochondrial genome, several studies have searched for mitochondrial (mt) DNA abnormalities in patients with PD. Our aim was to answer the following questions: (1) are there some abnormalities of mtDNA in PD? (2) if there are some, what are these abnormalities? and (3) what is the pathogenic role of these abnormalities?

Methods: The literature review was performed using Medline [National Library of Medicine, Washington] and Current Contents [Institute for Scientific Information, Philadelphia] databases. Periods screened were 1966-March, 1998 (Medline) and March 17, 1997-March 9, 1998 (Current Contents). Keywords were: "Parkinson" or "Parkinson's", and "mitochondrial DNA" or "mtDNA". We limited our research to articles in English and French.

Results: Medline search provided 59 articles. Current Contents search provided 22 articles. Twelve articles were found in both databases. Thirty-eight of the 69 articles were either reviews about mitochondrial diseases (19 articles) or original articles not related to mtDNA (19 articles). Our final selection included the remaining 31 articles.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine
  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • National Library of Medicine (U.S.)
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / chemically induced
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / genetics
  • Primates
  • United States


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine