Plasma Urate and Risk of Parkinson's Disease
Oxidative stress contributes to dopaminergic neuron degeneration in Parkinson's disease. Urate, a potent antioxidant, could be neuroprotective. To determine whether higher plasma concentrations of urate predict a reduced risk of Parkinson's disease, the authors conducted a nested case-control study among participants in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, a cohort comprising over 18,000 men who provided blood samples in 1993–1995. Eighty-four incident cases of Parkinson's disease were diagnosed through 2000, and each was randomly matched to two controls by year of birth, race, and time of blood collection. Rate ratios of Parkinson's disease according to quartile of uricemia were estimated by use of conditional logistic regression. The mean urate concentration was 5.7 mg/dl among cases and 6.1 mg/dl among controls (p = 0.01). After adjustment for age, smoking, and caffeine, the rate ratio of Parkinson's disease for the highest quartile of uricemia compared with the lowest was 0.43 (95% confidence interval: 0.18, 1.02; ptrend = 0.017). This association was stronger in analyses excluding cases diagnosed within 4 years (median) from blood collection (rate ratio = 0.17, 95% confidence interval: 0.04, 0.69; ptrend = 0.010). These results suggest that high plasma urate concentrations may decrease the risk of Parkinson's disease, and they raise the possibility that interventions to increase plasma urate may reduce the risk and delay the progression of Parkinson's disease.