Oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis of multiple system atrophy (MSA). The aim of this study is to examine oxidant biomarkers including homocysteine (Hcys), bilirubin, uric acid, lipids, and potential environmental risk factors and to ascertain whether these data correlate with MSA in a Chinese population.
In this study, serum levels of Hcys, bilirubin, uric acid, and lipids were studied in 55 MSA patients and 76 healthy controls (HCs). Education, anti-parkinsonian agent usage, smoking, drinking, farming, and living area of the subjects also were analyzed. The Unified MSA Rating Scale (UMSARS), Hoehn & Yahr stage, International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale, and Mini-Mental State Examination were used to assess the disease severity, the parkinsonism, ataxia, and the cognitive ability of MSA, respectively.
The levels of Hcys were higher (p<0.001) and those of total bilirubin (p=0.007), indirect bilirubin (p=0.011), and total cholesterol (p=0.046) were lower in MSA patients than in healthy controls, whereas uric acid levels did not differ significantly between MSA and healthy controls. Moreover, Hcys levels in MSA patients had positive correlations with illness duration (r
=0.422, p=0.001) and UMSARS-I (r
=0.555, p<0.001), respectively. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were negatively correlated with UMSARS-I (r
=−0.325, p=0.015). Farming was more frequent in MSA patients (1-20 years: odds ratio, 6.36; p<0.001; >20 years: odds ratio, 10.26; p=0.001), whereas current smoking was less frequent (odds ratio, 0.13, p=0.002).
Elevated Hcys and decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol may be associated with the disease severity of MSA. Environmental exposures such as farming and smoking may contribute to the occurrence but not the progression of MSA.