Molecular Effects of L-dopa Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease
Jolanta Dorszewska, Michal Prendecki, Margarita Lianeri and Wojciech Kozubski
Affiliation: Laboratory of Neurobiology, Department of Neurology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, 49, Przybyszewskiego St. PL 60-355 Poznan, Poland.
Keywords: Oxidative stress, Immune response, Biothiols, L-dopa, PD.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurological diseases in elderly people. The mean age of
onset is 55 years of age, and the risk for developing PD increases 5-fold by the age of 70. In PD, there is impairment in
both motor and nonmotor (NMS) functions. The strategy of PD motor dysfunction treatment is simple and generally based
on the enhancement of dopaminergic transmission by means of the L-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-dopa) and dopamine
(DA) agonists. L-dopa was discovered in the early -60's of the last century by Hornykiewicz and used for the treatment of
patients with PD. L-dopa treatment in PD is related to decreased levels of the neurotransmitter (DA) in striatum and absence
of DA transporters on the nerve terminals in the brain. L-dopa may also indirectly stimulate the receptors of the D1
and D2 families. Administration of L-dopa to PD patients, especially long-time therapy, may cause side effects in the
form of increased toxicity and inflammatory response, as well as disturbances in biothiols metabolism. Therefore, in PD
patients treated with L-dopa, monitoring of oxidative stress markers (8-oxo-2’-deoxyguanosine, apoptotic proteins) and
inflammatory factors (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, soluble intracellular adhesion molecule), as well as biothiol
compounds (homocysteine, cysteine, glutathione) is recommended. Administration of vitamins B6, B12, and folates along
with an effective therapy with antioxidants and/or anti-inflammatory drugs at an early stage of PD might contribute to
improvement in the quality of the life of patients with PD and to slowing down or stopping the progression of the disease.
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