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Head injury, α‐synuclein genetic variability and Parkinson's disease

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Background and purpose

Head injury has been linked to Parkinson's disease (PD) in some but not all studies. Differences in the genetic and environmental susceptibility to PD between populations might be one explanation. The joint effects of head injuries and SNCA genetic variants were investigated.


From 2001 to 2012, 561 incident idiopathic PD cases and 721 population controls from central California were enrolled. Subjects reported on head injuries throughout their lifetime and were assessed for genetic variability in the SNCA 5' region (D4S3481; Rep1) and 3' untranslated region (rs356165). In unconditional logistic regression models adjusted for confounders, interactions between head injuries and genetic risk variants were investigated.


Parkinson's disease risk in individuals with head injury who are carriers of at least one 263 bp allele in D4S3481 or rs356165 variants was 3-4.5-fold higher compared with non-carriers without head injuries. However, tests for interaction between head injury and SNCA D4S3481or rs356165 were not statistically significant.


Our study finds some evidence that head injury and D4S3481 or rs356165 variants jointly increase the risk of PD but little evidence of interaction.

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