Plasma homocysteine levels and parkinson disease: disease progression, carotid intima-media thickness and neuropsychiatric complications

Sharon Hassin-Baer, Oren Cohen, Eli Vakil, Ben Ami Sela, Zeev Nitsan, Roseline Schwartz, Joab Chapman, David Tanne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether plasma homocysteine (Hcy) levels are associated with clinical characteristics, neuropsychological and psychiatric manifestations and cardiovascular comorbidity in patients with Parkinson disease (PD). BACKGROUND: Elevated Hcy levels are linked to atherosclerosis, vascular disease, depression, and dementia. Patients with PD treated with L-dopa have been shown to have elevated Hcy levels. DESIGN/METHODS: Idiopathic PD patients were evaluated using the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, Hoehn and Yahr stage, Parkinson Psychosis Rating Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, Frontal Assessment Battery, Mini-Mental Status Examination, and several tests for frontal type cognitive functions. Fasting blood samples were collected for the measurement of Hcy, and carotid B-mode ultrasound was performed to measure intima-media thickness of the common carotid arteries. RESULTS: Seventy-two consecutive PD patients (46 men; average age, 68.7 ± 11.6 years; average disease duration, 7.0 ± 4.7 years) were recruited. All but 10 patients were treated with L-dopa. The average level of Hcy was 16.4 ± 7.8 μmol/L, and 38.9% of the patients had Hcy level above the reference range (>15.0 μmol/L). The Hcy levels were associated with PD duration as they were with L-dopa treatment duration but were not associated with the parameters of disease severity or with L-dopa dose. The Hcy levels were associated neither with the common carotid intima-media thickness nor with cardiovascular morbidity. No association was found between Hcy and the neuropsychiatric features of PD such as depression, cognitive performance, or psychosis. CONCLUSIONS: Hyperhomocystinemia is common in L-dopa-treatedPD patients but was not associated with neuropsychological complications (depression, dementia, and cognitive decline associated with frontal lobe functioning or psychosis), enhanced disease severity, or vascular comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-311
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Neuropharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Homocysteine
  • Neuropsychiatric complications
  • Parkinson disease


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