Discovery Finds Gene Linked To Parkinson's Disease

Armen Hareyan's picture

Scientists from Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University have found a gene GIGYF2 that is linked to Parkinson's disease.

Scientists were examining the link between diabetes and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) five year ago. They found GIGYF2 gene at that time and only now they linked the gene to Parkinson's disease. This gene may also be responsible for other neurodegenerative disorders and it shows there is a link between diabetes and nervous system.


Parkinson's disease is the second major neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer's disease. It occurs when brain cells are being damaged. Brain nerve cells responsible produce dopamine to make movements smoother. The disease causes cell damage and coordination and balance difficulties, such as 'tremors, slow movements, and stiffness.' The disease affects from 1 to 2% of population aged above 60.

Only 1/4 cases of the disease are familiar, the disease varies and it is hard to find one single cause for all cases. Besides, the gene is not the only one linked to neurodegenerative disorders, but it is believed to be the one that can uncover clues about Parkinson disease.

Researchers examined 123 Italian, 126 French patients with at least one parent affected by Parkinson's. They also examined more than 200 patients with no family history for the disease. Researchers found 7 different mutation of the gene in DNA samples of 12 people. 8 of these patients have one parent affected by the disease, 1 patients with both parents affected, and 3 patients with no family history for Parkinson's. All DNA samples were found to have the same mutation of GIGYF2 gene.

There are about 1 million Americans suffering from Parkinson's disease and most of them have family history background. The disease cause is unknown yet and there is no way to treat it. This new study gives hope that the scientists may understand the disease mechanism and find cure for it.