Recent investigation into the mechanisms of Parkinson's disease (PD) has generated remarkable insight while simultaneously challenging traditional conceptual frameworks. Although the disease remains defined clinically by its cardinal motor manifestations and pathologically by midbrain dopaminergic cell loss in association with Lewy bodies, it is now recognized that PD has substantially more widespread impact, causing a host of nonmotor symptoms and associated pathology in multiple regions throughout the nervous system. Further, the discovery and validation of PD-susceptibility genes contradict the historical view that environmental factors predominate, and blur distinctions between familial and sporadic disease. Genetic advances have also promoted the development of improved animal models, highlighted responsible molecular pathways, and revealed mechanistic overlap with other neurodegenerative disorders. In this review, we synthesize emerging lessons on PD pathogenesis from clinical, pathological, and genetic studies toward a unified concept of the disorder that may accelerate the design and testing of the next generation of PD therapies.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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