Understanding the links between cardiovascular disease and Parkinson's disease

Judy Potashkin, Xuemei Huang, Claudia Becker, Honglei Chen, Thomas Foltynie, Connie Marras

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Studies investigating the associations between genetic or environmental factors and Parkinson's disease (PD) have uncovered a number of factors shared with cardiovascular disease, either as risk factors or manifestations of cardiovascular disease itself. Older age, male sex, and possibly type 2 diabetes are examples. On the other hand, coffee consumption and physical activity are each associated with a lower risk of both PD and cardiovascular disease. This observation raises questions about the underlying pathophysiological links between cardiovascular disease and PD. There is evidence for common mechanisms in the areas of glucose metabolism, cellular stress, lipid metabolism, and inflammation. On the other hand, smoking and total/low-density lipoprotein cholesterol appear to have opposite associations with cardiovascular disease and PD. Thus, it is uncertain whether the treatment of cardiovascular risk factors will impact on the onset or progression of PD. The available data suggest that a nuanced approach is necessary to manage risk factors such as cholesterol levels once the associations are better understood. Ultimately, the choice of therapy may be tailored to a patient's comorbidity profile. This review presents the epidemiological evidence for both concordant and discordant associations between cardiovascular disease and PD, discusses the cellular and metabolic processes that may underlie these links, and explores the implications this has for patient care and future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-74
Number of pages20
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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