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Identifying the genetic components underlying the pathophysiology of movement disorders

Authors Ezquerra, Compta, Marti M

Published 23 June 2011 Volume 2011:4 Pages 81—92


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Mario Ezquerra, Yaroslau Compta, Maria J Marti
Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Unit, Service of Neurology, Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERNED, Spain

Abstract: Movement disorders are a heterogeneous group of neurological conditions, few of which have been classically described as bona fide hereditary illnesses (Huntington’s chorea, for instance). Most are considered to be either sporadic or to feature varying degrees of familial aggregation (parkinsonism and dystonia). In the late twentieth century, Mendelian monogenic mutations were found for movement disorders with a clear and consistent family history. Although important, these findings apply only to very rare forms of movement disorders. Already in the twenty-first century, and taking advantage of the modern developments in genetics and molecular biology, growing attention is being paid to the complex genetics of movement disorders. The search for risk genetic variants (polymorphisms) in large cohorts and the identification of different risk variants across different populations and ethnic groups are under way, with the most relevant findings to date corresponding to recent genome wide association studies in Parkinson’s disease. These new approaches focusing on risk variants may enable the design of screening tests for early or even preclinical disease, and the identification of likely therapeutic targets.

Keywords: genetics, movement disorders, Parkinson’s disease, parkinsonism, dystonia

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