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Low levels of the natural antioxidant uric acid (UA) and the presence of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) are both associated with an increased likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). RBD and PD are also accompanied by basal ganglia dysfunction including decreased nigrostriatal and nigrocortical resting state functional connectivity. Despite these independent findings, the relationship between UA and substantia nigra (SN) functional connectivity remains unknown. In the present study, voxelwise analysis of covariance was used in a cross-sectional design to explore the relationship between UA and whole-brain SN functional connectivity using the eyes-open resting state fMRI method in controls without RBD, patients with idiopathic RBD, and PD patients with and without RBD. The results showed that controls exhibited a positive relationship between UA and SN functional connectivity with left lingual gyrus. The positive relationship was reduced in patients with RBD and PD with RBD, and the relationship was found to be negative in PD patients. These results are the first to show differential relationships between UA and SN functional connectivity among controls, prodromal, and diagnosed PD patients in a ventral occipital region previously documented to be metabolically and structurally altered in RBD and PD. More investigation, including replication in longitudinal designs with larger samples, is needed to understand the pathophysiological significance of these changes.


This article was originally published in Frontiers in Neurology, available at

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY 4.0).



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