Research Article| Volume 352, ISSUE 1-2, P88-93, May 15, 2015

Vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms and Parkinson's disease in a population with high ultraviolet radiation exposure

Published:April 06, 2015DOI:


      • The study population had high lifetime ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure.
      • Increasing UVR exposure was not inversely associated with Parkinson's disease risk.
      • Homozygotes for rs731236 (TaqI) TT (major allele) genotype had 31% lower PD risk.
      • rs7975232 (ApaI) GG (minor allele) genotype was associated with 27% lower PD risk.
      • Vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms may modulate risk under high UVR conditions.



      A high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency has been reported in Parkinson's disease (PD). Epidemiologic studies examining variability in genes involved in vitamin D metabolism have not taken into account level of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). We examined whether exposure to UVR (as a surrogate for vitamin D levels) and variations in the vitamin D receptor gene (VDR) are associated with PD.


      Within a geographical information system (GIS) we linked participants' geocoded residential address data to ground level UV data to estimate historical exposure to UVR. Six SNPs in VDR were genotyped in non-Hispanic Caucasian subjects.


      Average lifetime UVR exposure levels were >5000 Wh/m2, which was higher than levels for populations in previous studies, and UVR exposure did not differ between cases and controls. Homozygotes for the rs731236 TT (major allele) genotype had a 31% lower risk of PD risk (OR = 0.69; 95% CI = 0.49, 0.98; p = 0.04 for TT vs. TC + CC). The rs7975232 GG (minor allele) genotype was also associated with decreased risk of PD (OR = 0.63; 95% CI = 0.42, 0.93; p = 0.02 for GG vs. TG + TT). The association between PD risk and a third locus, rs1544410 (BsmI), was not statistically significant after adjustment for covariates, although there was a trend for lower risk with the GG genotype.


      This study provides initial evidence that VDR polymorphisms may modulate risk of PD in a population highly exposed to UVR throughout lifetime.


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