Sex differences by design and outcome in the Safety of Urate Elevation in PD (SURE-PD) trial

Neurology. 2019 Oct 1;93(14):e1328-e1338. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000008194. Epub 2019 Sep 4.


Objective: To investigate whether women and men with Parkinson disease (PD) differ in their biochemical and clinical responses to long-term treatment with inosine.

Methods: The Safety of Urate Elevation in Parkinson's Disease (SURE-PD) trial enrolled 75 people with early PD and baseline serum urate below 6 mg/dL and randomized them to 3 double-blinded treatment arms: oral placebo or inosine titrated to produce mild (6.1-7.0 mg/dL) or moderate (7.1-8.0 mg/dL) serum urate elevation for up to 2 years. Parkinsonism, serum urate, and plasma antioxidant capacity were measured at baseline and repeatedly on treatment; CSF urate was assessed once, at 3 months. Here in secondary analyses results are stratified by sex.

Results: Inosine produced an absolute increase in average serum urate from baseline that was 50% greater in women (3.0 mg/dL) than in men (2.0 mg/dL), consistent with expected lower baseline levels in women. Similarly, only among women was CSF urate significantly greater on mild or moderate inosine (+87% [p < 0.001] and +98% [p < 0.001], respectively) than on placebo (in contrast to men: +10% [p = 0.6] and +14% [p = 0.4], respectively). Women in the higher inosine dosing group showed a 7.0 Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) points/year lower rate of decline vs placebo (p = 0.01). In women, slower rates of UPDRS change were associated with greater increases in serum urate (r = -0.52; p = 0.001), and with greater increases in plasma antioxidant capacity (r = -0.44; p = 0.006). No significant associations were observed in men.

Conclusions: Inosine produced greater increases in serum and CSF urate in women compared to men in the SURE-PD trial, consistent with the study's design and with preliminary evidence for slower clinical decline in early PD among women treated with urate-elevating doses of inosine.

Clinicaltrialsgov identifier: NCT00833690.

Classification of evidence: This study provides Class II evidence that inosine produced greater urate elevation in women than men and may slow PD progression in women.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Inosine / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Mental Status and Dementia Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / blood*
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uric Acid / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Uric Acid
  • Inosine

Associated data