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Glucocerebrosidase gene mutation is a risk factor for early onset of Parkinson disease among Taiwanese
  1. Yih-Ru Wu1,
  2. Chiung-Mei Chen1,
  3. Chih-Ying Chao2,
  4. Long-Sun Ro1,
  5. Rong-Kuo Lyu1,
  6. Kuo-Hsuan Chang1,
  7. Guey-Jen Lee-Chen2
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan
  2. 2Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr G-J Lee-Chen
 Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University, 88 Ting-Chou Road, Section 4, Taipei, Taiwan 116; t43019{at}


Background: Mutations in the glucocerebrosidase (GBA) gene have recently been identified as contributing to the development of Parkinson disease (PD) in Ashkenazi Jews.

Methods: To investigate whether this finding can be confirmed in a Taiwanese population, we conducted a case control study in a cohort of 518 PD patients and 339 controls for the three common GBA mutations in Taiwan, L444P, RecNciI and R120W, using PCR restriction enzyme assay and DNA sequencing.

Results: Heterozygous GBA mutations were detected in 16 PD patients (3.1%) and four controls (1.2%). Although this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.0703), the average age at disease onset of the 16 PD patients (50.6 (12.3) years) was significantly younger than that of the total patient group (63.8 (10.5) years; p = 0.0007) and the non-carrier patient group (64.2 (10.2) years; p = 0.0005). After stratification by age, the frequency of mutation carriers was significantly higher for the early onset PD (EOPD, age at onset ⩽50 years) group than for age matched controls (12.9% vs 1.8%; p = 0.0335) and there was a trend towards an increased risk of the mutation carrier with EOPD (odds ratio 8.30; 95% CI 1.45 to 156.53). Clinically, all 16 patients carrying a GBA mutation presented with a typical parkinsonian phenotype and experienced a good or excellent response to levodopa.

Conclusions: Mutations of the GBA gene may be associated with the development of EOPD in Taiwan.

  • EOPD, early onset Parkinson disease
  • GBA, glucocerebrosidase
  • GD, Gaucher disease
  • PD, Parkinson disease

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  • Competing interests: None.