Urate as a predictor of the rate of clinical decline in Parkinson disease

Arch Neurol. 2009 Dec;66(12):1460-8. doi: 10.1001/archneurol.2009.247.


Background: The risk of Parkinson disease (PD) and its rate of progression may decline with increasing concentration of blood urate, a major antioxidant.

Objective: To determine whether serum and cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of urate predict clinical progression in patients with PD.

Design, setting, and participants: Eight hundred subjects with early PD enrolled in the Deprenyl and Tocopherol Antioxidative Therapy of Parkinsonism (DATATOP) trial. The pretreatment urate concentration was measured in serum for 774 subjects and in cerebrospinal fluid for 713 subjects.

Main outcome measures: Treatment-, age-, and sex-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for clinical disability requiring levodopa therapy, the prespecified primary end point of the original DATATOP trial.

Results: The HR of progressing to the primary end point decreased with increasing serum urate concentrations (HR for highest vs lowest quintile = 0.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.44-0.94; HR for a 1-SD increase = 0.82; 95% CI, 0.73-0.93). In analyses stratified by alpha-tocopherol treatment (2000 IU/d), a decrease in the HR for the primary end point was seen only among subjects not treated with alpha-tocopherol (HR for a 1-SD increase = 0.75; 95% CI, 0.62-0.89; vs HR for those treated = 0.90; 95% CI, 0.75-1.08). Results were similar for the rate of change in the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale score. Cerebrospinal fluid urate concentration was also inversely related to both the primary end point (HR for highest vs lowest quintile = 0.65; 95% CI, 0.44-0.96; HR for a 1-SD increase = 0.89; 95% CI, 0.79-1.02) and the rate of change in the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale score. As with serum urate concentration, these associations were present only among subjects not treated with alpha-tocopherol.

Conclusions: Higher serum and cerebrospinal fluid urate concentrations at baseline were associated with slower rates of clinical decline. The findings strengthen the link between urate concentration and PD and the rationale for considering central nervous system urate concentration elevation as a potential strategy to slow PD progression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Disease Progression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / blood
  • Parkinson Disease / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Uric Acid / blood*
  • Uric Acid / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • Biomarkers
  • Uric Acid