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BACKGROUND: There is large individual variation in both clinical presentation and progression between Parkinson's disease patients. Generation of deeply and longitudinally phenotyped patient cohorts has enormous potential to identify disease subtypes for prognosis and therapeutic targeting. METHODS: Replicating across three large Parkinson's cohorts (Oxford Discovery cohort (n = 842)/Tracking UK Parkinson's study (n = 1807) and Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (n = 472)) with clinical observational measures collected longitudinally over 5-10 years, we developed a Bayesian multiple phenotypes mixed model incorporating genetic relationships between individuals able to explain many diverse clinical measurements as a smaller number of continuous underlying factors ("phenotypic axes"). RESULTS: When applied to disease severity at diagnosis, the most influential of three phenotypic axes "Axis 1" was characterised by severe non-tremor motor phenotype, anxiety and depression at diagnosis, accompanied by faster progression in cognitive function measures. Axis 1 was associated with increased genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease and reduced CSF Aβ1-42 levels. As observed previously for Alzheimer's disease genetic risk, and in contrast to Parkinson's disease genetic risk, the loci influencing Axis 1 were associated with microglia-expressed genes implicating neuroinflammation. When applied to measures of disease progression for each individual, integration of Alzheimer's disease genetic loci haplotypes improved the accuracy of progression modelling, while integrating Parkinson's disease genetics did not. CONCLUSIONS: We identify universal axes of Parkinson's disease phenotypic variation which reveal that Parkinson's patients with high concomitant genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease are more likely to present with severe motor and non-motor features at baseline and progress more rapidly to early dementia.

Original publication




Journal article


Genome Med

Publication Date





Deeply phenotyped cohorts, Neuro-inflammation, Parkinson’s disease