Ultrasound-based motion analysis demonstrates bilateral arm hypokinesia during gait in heterozygous PINK1 mutation carriers

Lucas Nürnberger*, Christine Klein, Simon Baudrexel, Julia Roggendorf, Marcel Hildner, Shu Chen, Jun Suk Kang, Rüdiger Hilker, Johann Hagenah

*Corresponding author for this work
4 Citations (Scopus)


Carriers of a single heterozygous PINK1 (PTEN-induced putative kinase 1) gene mutation provide an ideal opportunity to study the development of parkinsonian motor signs from the very beginning. Measuring tools that reliably represent mild motor symptoms could also facilitate the assessment of future neuroprotective therapies and early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD). We investigated nine family members carrying a heterozygous PINK1 mutation in comparison with 25 age-matched healthy controls. Arm kinematics were quantified during treadmill walking at four different speeds using ultrasound-based motion analysis. Heterozygous PINK1 mutation carriers showed a bilateral reduction of arm swing amplitudes (P=0.003) and arm anteversion (P=0.001), which was more pronounced on the predominantly affected body side but also was present, albeit to a lesser degree, contralaterally (amplitude P=0.01, anteversion P=0.002, repeated measures analysis of covariance [rmANCOVA]). Single post-hoc comparisons revealed similar results for all speeds on both body sides (P<0.05) except for 2.0 km/h on the less affected side. A single heterozygous mutation in the PINK1 gene is associated with a bilateral dopaminergic dysfunction in this family. Ultrasound-based three-dimensional motion analysis of arm swing during gait is a suitable tool to quantify even subtle hypokinesia in mildly affected PINK1 mutation carriers, which tends to be easily overlooked on the less affected body side during clinical examination. Therefore, this technique is a promising application in early stage PD and in at-risk populations for the disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)386-392
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2015


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