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Dec 2011

Parkinson Disease and Vitamin D: An Interplay Between Genes and the Environment?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (Clinical Neurology) (Drs DeLuca and Ramagopalan) and University of Oxford Medical School (Ms Li), John Radcliffe Hospital, and Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics (Dr Ramagopalan), University of Oxford, England.

Arch Neurol. 2011;68(12):1615-1616. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.1078

We read with interest the article by Evatt et al1 on the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D status in patients with early Parkinson disease. Epidemiologically, a season of birth effect and a latitude effect have been observed for this disorder.2,3 Genetic studies have shown polymorphisms in the VDR gene that are associated with the risk of Parkinson disease.4 Genome-wide association studies have identified several candidate genes that are associated with risk of Parkinson disease, several of which have VDR binding associated with them, raising the possibility that vitamin D may influence their expression.5 These potential vitamin D–regulated genes in Parkinson disease have important roles to play in the nervous system, including nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurotransmission, neurogenesis, neurite outgrowth, and neural ectodermal expression (Table).6-8 The interplay between gene and environment in determining the risk of Parkinson disease warrants further study.

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