Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study supports possible role of urate in slowing Parkinson's disease progression

14.10.2009
Results confirm those of 2008 study, clinical trial is underway

By examining data from a 20-year-old clinical trial, a research team based at the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (MGH-MIND) and Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), has found evidence supporting the findings of their 2008 study – that elevated levels of the antioxidant urate may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease.

The report – which will appear in the December 2009 Archives of Neurology and has been released online – analyzed blood and cerebrospinal fluid samples from participants in a 1980s trail of potential Parkinson's medications, confirming the previous study's findings in a totally different group of patients.

"These results were critically important. Only now we can be reasonably sure that the slower rate of progression in patients with higher concentrations of urate is real and not a chance occurrence," says Alberto Ascherio, MD, DrPh, of HSPH, the new study's lead author.

Parkinson's disease – characterized by tremors, rigidity, difficulty walking and other symptoms – is caused by destruction of brain cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. The 2008 study, which investigated the observation that healthy people with elevated but still normal urate levels have a reduced risk of developing Parkinson's, found an association between higher blood urate levels and slower disease progression in 800 participants from a previous clinical trial.

To follow up that finding, the current study reviewed information from a much earlier trial that had investigated whether the drug deprenyl, now an established treatment for Parkinson's, or doses of vitamin E would slow disease progression. The researchers analyzed samples of both blood and cerebrospinal fluid from 800 participants in the DATATOP study, conducted by the Parkinson's Study Group at centers across the U.S. and Canada, to find any association of urate levels with how quickly recently diagnosed patients progressed to the point where they needed to begin standard drug therapy.

Confirming the results of the 2008 study, they found that participants with the highest blood urate levels had a 36 percent less chance of needing to begin treatment during the two-year study period than did those with the lowest urate levels. Similar results were seen for urate levels in the cerebrospinal fluid. Also echoing last year's results, the association of urate levels with risk was robust in men but less clear in women, which may reflect the fact that few women have the high natural urate levels associated with risk reduction.

"Since cerebrospinal fluid circulates in and around the brain, the association with urate CSF levels strengthens the possibility that urate has a protective influence on the cells that degenerate in Parkinson's disease," says Michael Schwarzschild, MD, PhD, of MGH-MIND, the study's senior author. "Urate is a major antioxidant and it can protect brain cells in the lab, which makes this a compelling possibility; but we don't yet know if it's urate itself or some urate-determining factor that helps people with Parkinson's."

One unexpected observation was that the association of urate levels with disease progression was not seen in DATATOP trial participants who had received vitamin E, also a powerful antioxidant that had no effect on disease progression in the original study. The researchers speculate that vitamin E might block urate's effects or that the elevated doses in the DATATOP trial might have had a pro-oxidant effect, possibilities that need further investigation.

With the support of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Schwarzschild and Ascherio, along with Parkinson Study Group colleagues from across the country, are conducting a multicenter Phase 2 trial at 10 centers. Enrolling 90 recently diagnosed patients, the SURE-PD trial will investigate whether treatment with the urate precursor inosine can safely increase urate levels with a goal of slowing disease progression. More information on this trial is available at http://www.pdtrials.org/en/browse/all/view/259.

"Because elevated urate levels have known health risks, including gout and kidney stones," Schwarzschild stresses, "urate elevation should only be attempted in the context of a closely monitored clinical trial in which potential benefits and risks are carefully balanced."

The current study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the RJG Foundation, the American Federation for Aging Research, the Parkinson Disease Foundation and the Parkinson Study Group. Co-authors of the Archives of Neurology paper are Kui Xu, MD, and Marsha Tennis, RN, MGH-MIND; Wayne Matson, PhD, and Mikhail Bogdanov, PhD, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Bedford, Mass.: Peter LeWitt, MD, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit; Shirley Eberly, MS, Arthur Watts, Karl Keiburtz, MD, Alice Rudolph, PhD, Steven Schwid, MD, David Oakes, PhD, and Ira Shoulson, MD, University of Rochester; M. Flint Beal, MD, Cornell University; Stanley Fahn, MD, Columbia University; Connie Marras, MD, and Anthony Lang, MD, University of Toronto, and Caroline Tanner, MD, PhD, Parkinson's Institute, Sunnyvale, Calif.

Massachusetts General Hospital (www.massgeneral.org), established in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of $550 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine.

Sue McGreevey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.massgeneral.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History

24.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation

24.05.2017 | Life Sciences

A CLOUD of possibilities: Finding new therapies by combining drugs

24.05.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>