A pathway-based analysis provides additional support for an immune-related genetic susceptibility to Parkinson's disease

Peter Holmans, Valentina Moskvina, Lesley Jones, Manu Sharma, Alexey Vedernikov, Finja Buchel, Mohamad Saad, Mohamad Sadd, Jose M Bras, Francesco Bettella, Nayia Nicolaou, Javier Simón-Sánchez, Florian Mittag, J Raphael Gibbs, Claudia Schulte, Alexandra Durr, Rita Guerreiro, Dena Hernandez, Alexis Brice, Hreinn StefánssonKari Majamaa, Thomas Gasser, Peter Heutink, Nicholas W Wood, Maria Martinez, Andrew B Singleton, Michael A Nalls, John Hardy, Huw R Morris, Nigel M Williams, International Parkinson's Disease Genomics Consortium (IPDGC), Karen Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease affecting 1-2% in people >60 and 3-4% in people >80. Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have now implicated significant evidence for association in at least 18 genomic regions. We have studied a large PD-meta analysis and identified a significant excess of SNPs (P < 1 × 10(-16)) that are associated with PD but fall short of the genome-wide significance threshold. This result was independent of variants at the 18 previously implicated regions and implies the presence of additional polygenic risk alleles. To understand how these loci increase risk of PD, we applied a pathway-based analysis, testing for biological functions that were significantly enriched for genes containing variants associated with PD. Analysing two independent GWA studies, we identified that both had a significant excess in the number of functional categories enriched for PD-associated genes (minimum P = 0.014 and P = 0.006, respectively). Moreover, 58 categories were significantly enriched for associated genes in both GWA studies (P < 0.001), implicating genes involved in the 'regulation of leucocyte/lymphocyte activity' and also 'cytokine-mediated signalling' as conferring an increased susceptibility to PD. These results were unaltered by the exclusion of all 178 genes that were present at the 18 genomic regions previously reported to be strongly associated with PD (including the HLA locus). Our findings, therefore, provide independent support to the strong association signal at the HLA locus and imply that the immune-related genetic susceptibility to PD is likely to be more widespread in the genome than previously appreciated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-49
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013


  • Alleles
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • HLA Antigens
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Risk


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