The objective of this study is to clarify the role of (G4C2)n expansions in the etiology of Parkinson disease (PD) in the worldwide multicenter Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson's Disease (GEO-PD) cohort.
C9orf72 (G4C2)n repeats were assessed in a GEO-PD cohort of 7,494 patients diagnosed with PD and 5,886 neurologically healthy control individuals ascertained in Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia.
A pathogenic (G4C2)n>60 expansion was detected in only 4 patients with PD (4/7,232; 0.055%), all with a positive family history of neurodegenerative dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or atypical parkinsonism, while no carriers were detected with typical sporadic or familial PD. Meta-analysis revealed a small increase in risk of PD with an increasing number of (G4C2)n repeats; however, we could not detect a robust association between the C9orf72 (G4C2)n repeat and PD, and the population attributable risk was low.
Together, these findings indicate that expansions in C9orf72 do not have a major role in the pathogenesis of PD. Testing for C9orf72 repeat expansions should only be considered in patients with PD who have overt symptoms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or apparent family history of neurodegenerative dementia or motor neuron disease.