Heterozygous mutations in glucocerebrosidase gene (GBA) are a major genetic risk factor for Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Recently, there has been a considerable focus on the relationship between GBA mutations and emergence of cognitive impairment and neuropsychiatric symptoms in these diseases. Here, we review the literature in this area, with a particular focus, including meta-analysis, on the key neuropsychiatric symptoms of cognitive impairment, psychosis, and depression in Parkinson's disease. Our meta-analysis demonstrated that GBA mutations are associated with a 2.4-fold increased risk of cognitive impairment. In addition, our novel meta-analyses of psychosis and depression showed a 1.8- and 2.2-fold increased risk respectively associated with GBA mutations, although due to possible bias and heterogeneity the depression findings should be interpreted with caution. While the precise mechanisms which increase susceptibility to neurodegeneration in GBA carriers are not known, evidence of greater cortical Lewy body pathology, reduced patterns of cortical activation, and hippocampal pathology in animal models are all consistent with a direct effect of GBA mutations on these symptoms. Extension of this work in DLB and individuals without neurodegeneration will be important in further characterizing how GBA mutations increase risk for PD and DLB and influence disease course.
PMID: 28548708 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]