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Keywords:

  • Parkinson's disease;
  • Dopamine transporter;
  • Polymorphism;
  • Variable-number tandem repeat

Abstract

The presynaptic dopamine transporter in nigral dopaminergic neurons confers susceptibility to the cytotoxic effects of the neurotoxic metabolite of 1-methy1-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine. Polymorphisms in the dopamine transporter might influence the susceptibility to such toxins. Therefore, we investigated whether a polymorphic region in the 3′-untranslated region of the dopamine-transporter gene is associated with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD). The frequency distribution of the alleles was significantly different between the patients (n = 100) and controls (n = 200, p < 0.05). The rare 11-copy allele was more common in the patients (odds ratio = 10.2, 95% confidence interval = 1.2-87.9, p < 0.025). The susceptibility of some people to PD may be conferred by polymorphisms in the dopamine-transporter gene that could lead to increased cellular accumulation of neurotoxic compounds in dopaminergic neurons.