Key issues in essential tremor genetics research: Where are we now and how can we move forward?
- Claudia M. Testa
- Tremor and other hyperkinetic movements
The genetic causes of essential tremor (ET) seem to be heterogeneous. Recently, ET has been found associated with a functional variant (Ser9Gly) of the dopamine D3 receptor (DRD3), located in the ETM1 locus on chromosome 3q13.3 described for the first time in 1997. We examined this variant in three different populations from Germany, Denmark and France. We undertook an association study of the Ser9Gly variant in 202 cases with a familial history from unrelated families with ET, 97 cases with isolated non-familial ET and 528 healthy controls. In addition, linkage and segregation analyses were carried out in 22 ET families. The distribution of genotypes and allele frequencies showed no significant differences in the whole sample and in a subanalysis of familial and sporadic cases. Age at onset of tremor, tremor duration and tremor severity did not show an association with the genotype. In addition, the DRD3 variant was not found linked to the disease in a subset of informative ET families. We did not find a significant association of the DRD3 variant with ET nor linkage to the DRD3 receptor in German, Danish and French ET patients and families, suggesting that it is unlikely to be a causal factor for ET.