Non-motor symptoms and cardiac innervation in SYNJ1-related parkinsonism

A. De Rosa, T. Pellegrino, S. Pappatà, M. Lieto, V. Bonifati, V. Palma, A. Topa, L. Santoro, L. Bilo, A. Cuocolo, G. De Michele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: PARK20 is a rare autosomal recessive parkinsonism related to the SYNJ1 gene and characterized by early-onset of disease and atypical signs such as supranuclear vertical gaze palsy, dementia, dystonia, and generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Objective: Non-motor features and cardiac sympathetic innervation were assessed in two siblings affected by parkinsonism who harboured the homozygous Arg258Gln mutation in the SYNJ1 gene. Methods: The Non-Motor Symptoms, the SCOPA-AUT, the Mayo Sleep Questionnaires and polysomnography were used to investigate non-motor signs (NMS), autonomic dysfunction and REM Behavioural Disorder (RBD). Cognitive functions were examined by an extensive battery of neuropsychological tests. In addition, motor and sensory nerve conduction studies and evoked laser potentials were performed. Cardiac sympathetic innervation was assessed in the two patients by 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy, computing early and late heart-to-mediastinum (H/M) ratios and myocardial washout rates (WR). Results: Among the non-motor symptoms and autonomic signs, case 1 had cold intolerance, drooling and dysphagia, while case 2 had pain and urinary dysfunction. Both cases showed mood and behavioural disorders. RBD were not found, whereas the neuropsychological assessment revealed a progressive cognitive impairment. Neurophysiological studies revealed no abnormalities. Indexes of cardiac sympathetic innervation in the two patients did not differ from those of control subjects. Conclusions: Our findings expand the phenotypic profile of SYNJ1-related parkinsonism. Preserved cardiac sympathetic function and absence of RBD suggest that PARK20 should be explained by a pathogenic mechanism different from Lewy Body pathology, or that the latter is not as widespread as idiopathic Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jul 20 2015


  • I-metaiodobenzylguanidine myocardial scintigraphy
  • Non-motor signs
  • PARK20
  • SYNJ1 gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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