BACKGROUND: Variants in GBA are the most common genetic risk factor for Parkinson's disease (PD). The impact of different variants on the PD clinical spectrum is still unclear.
OBJECTIVES: We determined the frequency of GBA-related PD in Italy and correlated GBA variants with motor and nonmotor features and their occurrence over time.
METHODS: Sanger sequencing of the whole GBA gene was performed. Variants were classified as mild, severe, complex, and risk. β-glucocerebrosidase activity was measured. The Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazard regression models were performed.
RESULTS: Among 874 patients with PD, 36 variants were detected in 14.3%, including 20.4% early onset. Patients with GBA-PD had earlier and more frequent occurrence of several nonmotor symptoms. Patients with severe and complex GBA-PD had the highest burden of symptoms and a higher risk of hallucinations and cognitive impairment. Complex GBA-PD had the lowest β-glucocerebrosidase activity.
CONCLUSIONS: GBA-PD is highly prevalent in Italy. Different types of mutations underlie distinct phenotypic profiles. © 2020 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.