Peripheral nervous system involvement in Parkinson's disease: Evidence and controversies

C. Comi, L. Magistrelli, G. D. Oggioni, M. Carecchio, T. Fleetwood, R. Cantello, F. Mancini, A. Antonini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In recent years, non-motor features of Parkinson's disease (PD) have received increasing attention and PD is currently considered a systemic rather than a pure basal ganglia disorder. Among the systemic features, peripheral neuropathy (PN) is a recent acquisition since the first case-control study reporting increased frequency of PN in PD dates back to 2008. Methods: We reviewed available literature on peripheral nervous system (PNS) involvement in PD. Results: Evidence of α-synuclein deposition in the PNS and small nerve fiber deterioration in both drug-naïve and treated PD patients is becoming stronger. In addition, several recent reports documented a significant role of levodopa exposure together with group B vitamin deficiency in facilitating the development of PN and case reports suggested that treatment with continuous levodopa intestinal infusion may increase the risk of acute PN compared to both oral levodopa and other dopaminergic treatments. Conclusion: It is currently debated whether PN is an intrinsic disease-related feature, a consequence of levodopa treatment or both. In this review, we will discuss the different hypotheses, as well as our perspective on open issues and controversies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1329-1334
Number of pages6
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Alpha-synuclein
  • Levodopa
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Vitamin B deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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