Mendelian randomization reveals association between retinal thickness and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

Publication Name

npj Parkinson's Disease


Retinal thickness is related to Parkinson’s disease (PD), but its association with the severity of PD is still unclear. We conducted a Mendelian randomized (MR) study to explore the association between retinal thickness and PD. For the two-sample MR analysis, the summary statistics obtained from genome-wide association studies on the thickness of Retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and ganglion cell inner plexiform layer (GCIPL) were employed as exposure, while the summary statistics associated with PD were used as the outcome. The primary approach utilized was inverse variance weighted. To correct for multiple testing, the false discovery rate (FDR) was employed. For sensitivity analysis, an array of robust MR methods was utilized. We found genetically predicted significant association between reduced RNFL thickness and a reduced risk of constipation in PD (odds ratio [OR] = 0.854, 95% confidence interval [CI] (0.782, 0.933), P < 0.001, FDR-corrected P = 0.018). Genetically predicted reduced RNFL thickness was associated with a reduced Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale total score (β = −0.042, 95% CI (−0.079, 0.005), P = 0.025), and reduced GCIPL thickness was associated with a lower risk of constipation (OR = 0.901, 95% CI (0.821, 0.988), P = 0.027) but a higher risk of depression (OR = 1.103, 95% CI (1.016, 1.198), P = 0.020), insomnia (OR = 1.090, 95% CI (1.013, 1.172), P = 0.021), and rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) (OR = 1.198, 95% CI (1.061, 1.352), P = 0.003). In conclusion, we identify an association between retinal thickness and non-motor symptoms (constipation, depression, insomnia and RBD) in PD, highlighting the potential of retinal thickness as a biomarker for PD nonmotor symptoms.

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National Natural Science Foundation of China



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