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Deep brain stimulation and genetic variability in Parkinson's disease: a review of the literature.

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Published:5th Sep 2019
Author: Ligaard J, Sannæs J, Pihlstrøm L.
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Ref.:NPJ Parkinsons Dis. 2019;5:18.

Deep brain stimulation is offered as symptomatic treatment in advanced Parkinson’s disease, depending on a clinical assessment of the individual patient’s risk-benefit profile. Genetics contribute to phenotypic variability in Parkinson’s disease, suggesting that genetic testing could have clinical relevance for personalized therapy.

Aiming to review current evidence linking genetic variation to deep brain stimulation treatment and outcomes in Parkinson’s disease we performed systematic searches in the Embase and PubMed databases to identify relevant publications and summarized the findings. We identified 39 publications of interest. Genetic screening studies indicate that monogenic forms of Parkinson’s disease and high-risk variants of GBA may be more common in cohorts treated with deep brain stimulation. Studies assessing deep brain stimulation outcomes in patients carrying mutations in specific genes are limited in size. There are reports suggesting that the phenotype associated with parkin mutations could be suitable for early surgery. In patients with LRRK2 mutations, outcomes of deep brain stimulation seem at least as good as in mutation-negative patients, whereas less favorable outcomes are seen in patients carrying mutations in GBA. Careful assessment of clinical symptoms remains the primary basis for clinical decisions associated with deep brain stimulation surgery in Parkinson’s disease, although genetic information could arguably be taken into account in special cases. Current evidence is scarce, but highlights a promising development where genetic profiling may be increasingly relevant for clinicians tailoring personalized medical or surgical therapy to Parkinson’s disease patients.


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