The following article is part of coverage from the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting (AAN 2020). Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy made the necessary decision to cancel the meeting originally scheduled for April 25–May 1, 2020, in Toronto. While live events will not proceed as planned, readers can click here catch up on the latest research intended to be presented at the meeting.

Certain components of metabolic syndrome may be more common in patients with Parkinson disease (PD) who are carriers of an LRRK2 mutation compared with other PD etiologies, according to research results intended to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN 2020).

Metabolic syndrome may be a risk factor for PD, but whether any of the 5 metabolic syndrome components are linked to PD clinical phenotype, genetic status, or disease development remains poorly understood. To examine this, researchers conducted a cross-sectional observational study of individuals with idiopathic PD (n=104), genetic PD (leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 [LRRK2]-associated: n=40; glucocerebrosidase [GBA]-associated: n=70), or nonmanifesting GBA or LRRK2 carriers (n=55 and n=97, respectively), as well as a control group of 196 healthy individuals.

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The investigators collected data on demographic and clinical variables, constructed Movement Disorder Society prodromal probability scores, and examined components of metabolic syndrome according to genetic status in nonmanifesting carriers of GBA or LRRK2 mutations vs patients with PD.

Overall, the number of metabolic syndrome components did not differ between patients with genetic PD and nonmanifesting carriers, but rates of hypertriglyceridemia and prediabetes were higher in individuals with LRRK2-associated PD as well as those who were nonmanifesting carriers of the gene mutation.

Compared with idiopathic and GBA-associated PD, triglyceride levels were higher (P =.015) and rate of prediabetes was greater (P =.04) in LRRK2-associated PD. Nonmanifesting carriers of an LRRK2 mutation also had higher triglyceride levels (P =.014) compared with individuals in the control group and carriers of nonmanifesting GBA variants.

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Moreover, rates of hypertriglyceridemia (P <.005) and prediabetes (P =.023) were higher among nonmanifesting LRRK2 carriers with probability scores for prodromal PD >50% compared with those who had lower probability scores.

Based on these results, the researchers suggested that elevated triglyceride levels and prediabetes may be modifiable risk factors in carriers of LRRK2 mutation.


Rotchild O, Mirelman A, Gurevich T, et al. Metabolic syndrome and genetic Parkinson’s disease-the case of LRRK2 and GBA. Intended to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting (AAN 2020). Abstract S17.003.

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This article originally appeared on Neurology Advisor