Upregulated ECM genes and increased synaptic activity in Parkinson’s human DA neurons with PINK1/ PRKN mutations

Utkarsh Tripathi, Idan Rosh, Ran Ben Ezer, Ritu Nayak, Yara Hussein, Ashwani Choudhary, Jose Djamus, Andreea Manole, Henry Houlden, Fred H. Gage, Shani Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease. Primary symptoms of PD arise with the loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the Substantia Nigra Pars Compacta, but PD also affects the hippocampus and cortex, usually in its later stage. Approximately 15% of PD cases are familial with a genetic mutation. Two of the most associated genes with autosomal recessive (AR) early-onset familial PD are PINK1 and PRKN. In vitro studies of these genetic mutations are needed to understand the neurophysiological changes in patients’ neurons that may contribute to neurodegeneration. In this work, we generated and differentiated DA and hippocampal neurons from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) derived from two patients with a double mutation in their PINK1 and PRKN (one homozygous and one heterozygous) genes and assessed their neurophysiology compared to two healthy controls. We showed that the synaptic activity of PD neurons generated from patients with the PINK1 and PRKN mutations is impaired in the hippocampus and dopaminergic neurons. Mutant dopaminergic neurons had enhanced excitatory post-synaptic activity. In addition, DA neurons with the homozygous mutation of PINK1 exhibited more pronounced electrophysiological differences compared to the control neurons. Signaling network analysis of RNA sequencing results revealed that Focal adhesion and ECM receptor pathway were the top two upregulated pathways in the mutant PD neurons. Our findings reveal that the phenotypes linked to PINK1 and PRKN mutations differ from those from other PD mutations, suggesting a unique interplay between these two mutations that drives different PD mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103
Journalnpj Parkinson's Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 18 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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