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1.  UCHL1 S18Y variant is a risk factor for Parkinson’s disease in Japan 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:62.
A recent meta-analysis on the UCHL1 S18Y variant and Parkinson’s disease (PD) showed a significant inverse association between the Y allele and PD; the individual studies included in that meta-analysis, however, have produced conflicting results. We examined the relationship between UCHL1 S18Y single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and sporadic PD in Japan.
Included were 229 cases within 6 years of onset of PD, defined according to the UK PD Society Brain Bank clinical diagnostic criteria. Controls were 357 inpatients and outpatients without neurodegenerative disease. Adjustment was made for sex, age, region of residence, smoking, and caffeine intake.
Compared with subjects with the CC or CA genotype of UCHL1 S18Y SNP, those with the AA genotype had a significantly increased risk of sporadic PD: the adjusted OR was 1.57 (95 % CI: 1.06 − 2.31). Compared with subjects with the CC or CA genotype of UCHL1 S18Y and the CC or CT genotype of SNCA SNP rs356220, those with the AA genotype of UCHL1 S18Y and the TT genotype of SNP rs356220 had a significantly increased risk of sporadic PD; the interaction, however, was not significant. Our previous investigation found significant inverse relationships between smoking and caffeine intake and PD in this population. There were no significant interactions between UCHL1 S18Y and smoking or caffeine intake affecting sporadic PD.
This study reveals that the UCHL1 S18Y variant is a risk factor for sporadic PD. We could not find evidence for interactions affecting sporadic PD between UCHL1 S18Y and SNCA SNP rs356220, smoking, or caffeine intake.
PMCID: PMC3488468  PMID: 22839974
2.  Genetic polymorphisms involved in dopaminergic neurotransmission and risk for Parkinson's disease in a Japanese population 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:89.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by alterations in dopaminergic neurotransmission. Genetic polymorphisms involved in dopaminergic neurotransmission may influence susceptibility to PD.
We investigated the relationship of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), monoamine oxidase B (MAOB), dopamine receptor (DR) D2 and DRD4 polymorphisms and PD risk with special attention to the interaction with cigarette smoking among 238 patients with PD and 369 controls in a Japanese population.
Subjects with the AA genotype of MAOB rs1799836 showed a significantly increased risk of PD (odds ratio (OR) = 1.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.12 - 2.58) compared with the AG and GG genotypes combined. The AA genotype of COMT rs4680 was marginally associated with an increased risk of PD (OR = 1.86, 95% CI = 0.98 - 3.50) compared with the GG genotype. The DRD2 rs1800497 and DRD4 rs1800955 polymorphisms showed no association with PD. A COMT -smoking interaction was suggested, with the combined GA and AA genotypes of rs4680 and non-smoking conferring significantly higher risk (OR = 3.97, 95% CI = 2.13 - 7.41) than the AA genotype and a history of smoking (P for interaction = 0.061). No interactions of smoking with other polymorphisms were observed.
The COMT rs4680 and MAOB rs1799836 polymorphisms may increase susceptibility to PD risk among Japanese. Future studies involving larger control and case populations and better pesticide exposure histories will undoubtedly lead to a more thorough understanding of the role of the polymorphisms involved in the dopamine pathway in PD.
PMCID: PMC3199768  PMID: 21781348
3.  Occupational risk factors for Parkinson's disease: a case-control study in Japan 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:83.
The evidence for associations between occupational factors and the risk of Parkinson's disease (PD) is inconsistent. We assessed the risk of PD associated with various occupational factors in Japan.
We examined 249 cases within 6 years of onset of PD. Control subjects were 369 inpatients and outpatients without neurodegenerative disease. Information on occupational factors was obtained from a self-administered questionnaire. Relative risks of PD were estimated using odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) based on logistic regression. Adjustments were made for gender, age, region of residence, educational level, and pack-years of smoking.
Working in a professional or technical occupation tended to be inversely related to the risk of PD: adjusted OR was 0.59 (95% CI: 0.32-1.06, P = 0.08). According to a stratified analysis by gender, the decreased risk of PD for persons in professional or technical occupations was statistically significant only for men. Adjusted ORs for a professional or technical occupation among men and women were 0.22 (95% CI: 0.06-0.67) and 0.99 (0.47-2.07), respectively, and significant interaction was observed (P = 0.048 for homogeneity of OR). In contrast, risk estimates for protective service occupations and transport or communications were increased, although the results were not statistically significant: adjusted ORs were 2.73 (95% CI: 0.56-14.86) and 1.74 (95% CI: 0.65-4.74), respectively. No statistical significance was seen in data concerning exposure to occupational agents and the risk of PD, although roughly a 2-fold increase in OR was observed for workers exposed to stone or sand.
The results of our study suggest that occupational factors do not play a substantial etiologic role in this population. However, among men, professional or technical occupations may decrease the risk of PD.
PMCID: PMC3171313  PMID: 21733194
4.  Successful twin pregnancy in a patient with parkin-associated autosomal recessive juvenile parkinsonism 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:72.
Pregnancy in patients with Parkinson disease is a rare occurrence. To the best of our knowledge, the effect of pregnancy as well as treatment in genetically confirmed autosomal recessive juvenile parkinsonism (ARJP) has never been reported. Here, we report the first case of pregnancy in a patient with ARJP associated with a parkin gene mutation, ARJP/PARK2.
Case presentation
A 27-year-old woman with ARJP/PARK2 was diagnosed as having a spontaneous dichorionic/diamniotic twin pregnancy. Exacerbation of motor disability was noted between ovulation and menstruation before pregnancy as well as during late pregnancy, suggesting that her parkinsonism might have been influenced by fluctuations in the levels of endogenous sex hormones. During the organogenesis period, she was only treated with levodopa/carbidopa, although she continued to receive inpatient hospital care for assistance in the activities of daily living. After the organogenesis period, she was administered sufficient amounts of antiparkinsonian drugs. She delivered healthy male twins, and psychomotor development of both the babies was normal at the age of 2 years.
Pregnancy may worsen the symptoms of ARJP/PARK2, although appropriate treatments with antiparkinsonian drugs and adequate assistance in the activities of daily living might enable successful pregnancy and birth of healthy children.
PMCID: PMC3135525  PMID: 21682904
5.  Alcohol drinking and risk of Parkinson's disease: a case-control study in Japan 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:111.
Although some epidemiologic studies found inverse associations between alcohol drinking and Parkinson's disease (PD), the majority of studies found no such significant associations. Additionally, there is only limited research into the possible interactions of alcohol intake with aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) 2 activity with respect to PD risk. We examined the relationship between alcohol intake and PD among Japanese subjects using data from a case-control study.
From 214 cases within 6 years of PD onset and 327 controls without neurodegenerative disease, we collected information on "peak", as opposed to average, alcohol drinking frequency and peak drinking amounts during a subject's lifetime. Alcohol flushing status was evaluated via questions, as a means of detecting inactive ALHD2. The multivariate model included adjustments for sex, age, region of residence, smoking, years of education, body mass index, alcohol flushing status, presence of selected medication histories, and several dietary factors.
Alcohol intake during peak drinking periods, regardless of frequency or amount, was not associated with PD. However, when we assessed daily ethanol intake separately for each type of alcohol, only Japanese sake (rice wine) was significantly associated with PD (adjusted odds ratio of ≥66.0 g ethanol per day: 3.39, 95% confidence interval: 1.10-11.0, P for trend = 0.001). There was no significant interaction of alcohol intake with flushing status in relation to PD risk.
We did not find significant associations between alcohol intake and PD, except for the daily amount of Japanese sake. Effect modifications by alcohol flushing status were not observed.
PMCID: PMC2991300  PMID: 21054827

Results 1-5 (5)