Volume 106, Issue 4 p. 884-890
Article

N-Acetyl Cysteine Is Associated With Dopaminergic Improvement in Parkinson's Disease

Daniel A. Monti

Daniel A. Monti

Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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George Zabrecky

George Zabrecky

Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Daniel Kremens

Daniel Kremens

Department of Neurology, Jefferson Comprehensive Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Tsao-Wei Liang

Tsao-Wei Liang

Department of Neurology, Jefferson Comprehensive Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Nancy A. Wintering

Nancy A. Wintering

Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Anthony J. Bazzan

Anthony J. Bazzan

Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Li Zhong

Li Zhong

Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Brendan K. Bowens

Brendan K. Bowens

Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Inna Chervoneva

Inna Chervoneva

Department of Biostatistics, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Charles Intenzo

Charles Intenzo

Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Andrew B. Newberg

Corresponding Author

Andrew B. Newberg

Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Correspondence: Andrew B. Newberg ([email protected])Search for more papers by this author
First published: 17 June 2019
Citations: 73

Abstract

This study assessed the biological and clinical effects in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) of N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), the prodrug to l-cysteine, a precursor to the natural biological antioxidant glutathione. Forty-two patients with PD were randomized to either weekly intravenous infusions of NAC (50 mg/kg) plus oral doses (500 mg twice per day) for 3 months or standard of care only. Participants received prebrain and postbrain imaging with ioflupane (DaTscan) to measure dopamine transporter (DAT) binding. In the NAC group, significantly increased DAT binding was found in the caudate and putamen (mean increase from 3.4% to 8.3%) compared with controls (P < 0.05), along with significantly improved PD symptoms (P < 0.0001). The results suggest NAC may positively affect the dopaminergic system in patients with PD, with corresponding positive clinical effects. Larger scale studies are warranted.