Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology

, Volume 383, Issue 6, pp 627–633

Inhibition of catechol-O-methyltransferase modifies acute homocysteine rise during repeated levodopa application in patients with Parkinson’s disease


DOI: 10.1007/s00210-011-0629-7

Cite this article as:
Müller, T., Woitalla, D. & Muhlack, S. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Arch Pharmacol (2011) 383: 627. doi:10.1007/s00210-011-0629-7


Elevation of plasma total homocysteine concentrations were observed in levodopa/dopa decarboxylase inhibitor (DDI)-treated patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Degradation of levodopa to 3-O-methyldopa via the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is a methyl group demanding reaction. It generates homocysteine from the methyl group donor methionine. But there are inconsistent outcomes, as most investigators determined homocysteine after an overnight washout of levodopa. They did not consider the acute effects of levodopa/DDI intake in relation with COMT inhibition on homocysteine bioavailability. The purpose of this study is to measure levels of homocysteine, levodopa, and its metabolite 3-O-methyldopa in plasma after reiterated oral levodopa/DDI administration with and without the COMT-inhibitor entacapone (EN). Sixteen PD patients received 100 mg levodopa/carbidopa three times on day 1 and with EN on day 2 under standardized conditions. Homocysteine concentrations increased on day 1 and generally over the whole interval. No significant ascent of homocysteine appeared on day 2 only. Levodopa bioavailability was higher on day 2 due to the COMT inhibition. No change of 3-O-methyldopa appeared between both days. The correlation coefficients between homocysteine, levodopa, and 3-O-methyldopa were higher on day 1 than on day 2. Rise of homocysteine does not only depend on the oral levodopa dose, but also on the acute intake of levodopa/DDI with or without COMT inhibition. Measurements of homocysteine should consider acute repeated levodopa/DDI applications, as homocysteine and metabolically related 3-O-methyldopa accumulate due to their long plasma half-life in contrast to short-living levodopa.


HomocysteineLevodopaAbsorptionParkinson’s disease

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Müller
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dirk Woitalla
    • 2
  • Siegfried Muhlack
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NeurologySt. Joseph Hospital Berlin-WeissenseeBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, St. Josef HospitalRuhr University BochumBochumGermany