Serum Cholesterol and the Progression of Parkinson's Disease: Results from DATATOP.
PLoS One. 2011 ;6(8):e22854. Epub 2011 Aug 11. PMID: 21853051
Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Pharmacology, Radiology, and Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University-Milton Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
BACKGROUND: Recent studies have suggested that higher serum cholesterol may be associated with lower occurrence of Parkinson's disease (PD). This study is to test the hypothesis that higher serum cholesterol correlates with slower PD progression. METHODS: Baseline non-fasting serum total cholesterol was measured in 774 of the 800 subjects with early PD enrolled between 1987 and 1988 in the Deprenyl and Tocopherol Antioxidative Therapy of Parkinsonism (DATATOP) trial. Participants were followed for up to two years, with clinical disability requiring levodopa therapy as the primary endpoint. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were determined for increasing serum cholesterol concentration (in quintiles) for clinical disability requiring levodopa therapy, after adjusting for confounders. At baseline, only nine subjects reported use of cholesterol-lowering agents (two with statins). RESULTS: The overall mean cholesterol level was 216 mg/dL (range 100-355). The HR of progressing to the primary endpoint decreased with increasing serum cholesterol concentrations. Compared to the lowest quintile, the HRs (95%CI), for each higher quintile (in ascending order) are 0.83 (0.59-1.16); 0.86 (0.61-1.20); 0.84 (0.60-1.18); and 0.75 (0.52-1.09). The HR for one standard deviation (SD) increase = 0.90 [(0.80-1.01), p for trend = 0.09]. This trend was found in males (HR per SD = 0.88 [(0.77-1.00), p for trend = 0.05], but not in females [HR = 1.03 (0.81-1.32)]. CONCLUSIONS: This secondary analysis of the DATATOP trial provides preliminary evidence that higher total serum cholesterol concentrations may be associated with a modest slower clinical progression of PD, and this preliminary finding needs confirmation from larger prospective studies.