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Parkinson's disease (PD) is an aging-related movement disorder mainly caused by a deficiency of neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) in the striatum of the brain and is considered to be due to progressive degeneration of nigro-striatal DA neurons. Most PD is sporadic without family history (sPD), and there are only a few percent of cases of young-onset familial PD (fPD, PARKs) with the chromosomal locations and the genes identified. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4)-dependent and iron-containing monooxygenase, catalyzes the conversion of L-tyrosine to L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA), which is the initial and rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of catecholamines (DA, noradrenaline, and adrenaline). PD affects specifically TH-containing catecholamine neurons. The most marked neurodegeneration in patients with DA deficiency is observed in the nigro-striatal DA neurons, which contain abundant TH. Accordingly, TH has been speculated to play some important roles in the pathophysiology in PD. However, this decrease in TH is thought to be secondary due to neurodegeneration of DA neurons caused by some as yet unidentified genetic and environmental factors, and thus, TH deficiency may not play a direct role in PD. This manuscript provides an overview of the role of human TH in the pathophysiology of PD, covering the following aspects: (1) structures of the gene and protein of human TH in relation to PD; (2) similarity and dissimilarity between the phenotypes of aging-related sPD and those of young-onset fPD or DOPA-responsive dystonia due to DA deficiency in the striatum with decreased TH activity caused by mutations in either the TH gene or GTP cyclohydrolase I (GCH1) gene; and (3) genetic variants of the TH gene (polymorphisms, rare variants, and mutations) in PD, as discovered recently by advanced genome analysis.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996)
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Parkinsonism following encephalitis, historically seen as a sequella of encephalitis lethargica (Von Economo Encephalitis). The early age of onset, the rapid progression of symptoms followed by stabilization, and the presence of a variety of other neurological disorders (e.g., sociopathic behavior; TICS; MUSCLE SPASMS; oculogyric crises; hyperphagia; and bizarre movements) distinguish this condition from primary PARKINSON DISEASE. Pathologic features include neuronal loss and gliosis concentrated in the MESENCEPHALON; SUBTHALAMUS; and HYPOTHALAMUS. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p754)
These disorders are related to both SCHIZOPHRENIA SPECTRUM AND RELATED DISORDERS and DEPRESSIVE DISORDERS in terms of symptomatology, family history, and genetics. (DSM-V) .
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