Background: Recent randomized clinical trials using hydrophobic statins reported no influence on Parkinson's disease (PD) clinical progression. Hydrophobicity is a key determinant for blood-brain barrier penetrance. Objective: Investigate a potential effect of statins on PD progression. Methods: Statin use was determined at baseline and subtyped according to hydrophobicity in 125 PD patients participating in the PD Biomarker Program (PDBP, 2012-2015) at our site. Clinical (N = 125) and susceptibility MRI (N = 86) data were obtained at baseline and 18-months. Movement Disorders Society-Unified PD Rating Scales were used to track progression of non-motor (MDS-UPDRS-I) and motor (MDS-UPDRS-II) symptoms, and rater-based scores (MDS-UPDRS-III) of patients in the 'on' drug state. R2* values were used to capture pathological progression in the substantia nigra. Associations between statin use, its subtypes, and PD progression were evaluated with linear mixed effect regressions. Results: Compared to statin non-users, overall statin or lipophilic statin use did not significantly influence PD clinical or imaging progression. Hydrophilic statin users, however, demonstrated faster clinical progression of non-motor symptoms [MDS-UPDRS-I (β= 4.8, p = 0.010)] and nigral R2* (β= 3.7, p = 0.043). A similar trend was found for MDS-UPDRS-II (β= 3.9, p = 0.10), but an opposite trend was observed for rater-based MDS-UPDRS-III (β= -7.3, p = 0.10). Compared to lipophilic statin users, hydrophilic statin users also showed significantly faster clinical progression of non-motor symptoms [MDS-UPDRS-I (β= 5.0, p = 0.020)], but R2* did not reach statistical significance (β= 2.5, p = 0.24). Conclusion: This study suggests that hydrophilic, but not lipophilic, statins may be associated with faster PD progression. Future studies may have clinical and scientific implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-830
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Parkinson's Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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