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Unexplained weight changes that occur in Parkinson’s disease (PD), are often neglected and remain a poorly understood non-motor feature in patients with PD. A specific ‘Park-weight’ phenotype with low body weight has been described, and our aim was to evaluate the clinical and prognostic trajectories and biomarkers of weight variability in PD. We evaluated body weight-related biomarkers in 405 de novo PD patients and 187 healthy controls (HC) over a 5-year follow-up period from the PPMI database. Body-weight variability was defined as intra-individual variability in body weight between visits. PD patients were categorized as weight losers, gainers, or patients with stable weight. The differential progression of motor and non-motor clinical variables between groups was explored using linear mixed-effects models. Finally, we estimated longitudinal changes in weight as a function of baseline and longitudinal striatal presynaptic dopaminergic transporter imaging. PD patients presented a greater weight variability compared to HC (p = 0.003). Patients who developed weight loss had lower CSF amyloid-beta 1–42 (p = 0.009) at baseline. In addition, patients with weight loss showed a faster cognitive decline (p = 0.001), whereas patients with weight gain showed a slower motor progression (p = 0.001), compared to patients with stable weight. Baseline right striatal denervation was a predictor of weight variability in both PD patients and HC (p < 0.001). Similarly, weight variability in PD patients was associated with the progression of right striatal denervation (p < 0.001). Weight variability and specifically weight loss are more frequent in PD compared to HC, and are associated with specific motor, non-motor and cognitive progression patterns. A greater CSF amyloid burden was present at baseline in patients with subsequent weight loss. Presynaptic dopaminergic imaging in the right striatum may serve as a predictor of future weight changes in PD and HC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number95
Journalnpj Parkinson's Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2022


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