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December 1995

Absence of Mutations in Superoxide Dismutase and Catalase Genes in Patients With Parkinson's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Centre for Research in Neuroscience, McGill University and the Montreal General Hospital Research Institute (Messrs Parboosingh and Rousseau and Dr Rouleau), the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Concordia University (Mr Rogan and Dr Amit), and Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital and McGill University (Drs Chertkow, Manganaro, and Schipper), Montreal, Quebec; the Department of Neurology, New Jersey's University of the Health Sciences, Piscataway (Dr Johnson); Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Vernon, British Columbia (Dr Curran); and University Hospital, London, Ontario (Dr Stoessl).

Arch Neurol. 1995;52(12):1160-1163. doi:10.1001/archneur.1995.00540360038013

Background:  Parkinson's disease (PD) is an adultonset, neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a selective loss of the dopaminergic cells of the substantia nigra and by progressive motor decline. Studies have shown aberrant oxidative stress metabolism within the substantia nigra and other dopaminergic regions of the brain in patients with PD.

Objective:  To screen the genes of three free radical detoxifying enzymes—copper/zinc superoxide dismutase, manganese superoxide dismutase, and catalase—for mutations in patients with PD.

Patients and Methods:  A total of 107 unrelated patients with PD from two PD populations (familial and sporadic) were screened for mutations in the genes of copper/zinc superoxide dismutase, manganese superoxide dismutase, and catalase by single-strand conformation analysis. The diagnosis of PD was based on the clinical observations of resting tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia.

Results:  No mutations were identified. However, we did identify an amino acid substitution (glycine to aspartic acid) in exon 9 of the catalase gene in one patient; decreased red blood cell catalase activity was observed in this patient.

Conclusion:  Parkinson's disease is not caused by mutations in the genes of these three detoxifying enzymes. The exon 9 variant in the catalase gene in the one family with PD is most likely a silent mutation and not the genetic cause of PD in this family.

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