To determine the function of each type of peripheral nerve fiber and investigate the possible role of levodopa (LD) in peripheral neuropathy (PN) in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients.
We enrolled 60 patients with idiopathic PD. All PD patients were divided into three groups: levodopa exposure >3 years (LELD), levodopa exposure ≤3 years (SELD) and de novo patients with PD (NOLD). The current perception threshold (CPT), which was measured by Neurometer at 2000, 250 and 5 Hz, the level of homocysteine, Vitamin B12 and folic acid in plasma, were compared with those of sex- and age-matched healthy controls (HCs).
Current perception threshold was higher at 250 Hz (p < .05) and 5 Hz (p < .05) in the LELD group than the NOLD, SELD, and control group. CPT was lower at 5 Hz in the NOLD than in the HCs group (p < .05). The CPT of the more affected side of PD patients was positively correlated with H-Y stage at 5 Hz current stimulation (r = .42, p = .01). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that elevated homocysteine levels were the risk factor of sensory nerve injury in PD patients (p < .01). Serum homocysteine levels were positively correlated with levodopa (LD) daily dose, LD equivalent daily dose, and LD cumulative lifetime dose (p < .05).
Peripheral neuropathy in PD patients can occur in the early stage of PD exhibiting as hyperesthesia and is fiber selectivity, especially for Aδ and C nerve fibers. PN in PD patients is related to PD itself and long-term LD exposure. Elevated plasma homocysteine is a risk factor for PN in PD patients.