MicroRNAs are small RNA sequences that negatively regulate gene expression by binding to the 3' untranslated regions of mRNAs. MiR-133b has been implicated in Parkinson's disease (PD) by a mechanism that involves the regulation of the transcription factor PITX3. The variation in these genes could contribute to the risk of developing PD. We searched for DNA variants in miR-133 and PITX3 genes in PD patients and healthy controls from Spain. We found common DNA variants in the three miR-133 genes. Genotyping of a first set of patients (n = 777) and controls (n = 650) showed a higher frequency of homozygous for a miR-133b variant (-90 del A) in PD-patients (6/575; 1%) than in healthy controls (0/650) (P = 0.03). However, this association was not confirmed in a second set of patients (1/250; 0.4%) and controls (2/210; 1%). No common PITX3 variants were associated with PD, although a rare missense change (G32S) was found in only one patient and none of the controls. In conclusion, we report the variation in genes of a pathway that has been involved in dopaminergic neuron differentiation and survival. Our work suggests that miR-133 and PITX3 gene variants did not contribute to the risk for PD.
Reference: de Mena el al. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2010 Sep;153B(6):1234-9. Full text