Recent studies found that hepatitis C virus (HCV) may invade the central nervous system, and both HCV and Parkinson's disease (PD) have in common the overexpression of inflammatory biomarkers. We analysed data from a community-based integrated screening programme based on a total of 62 276 subjects. We used logistic regression models to investigate association between HCV infection and PD. The neurotoxicity of HCV was evaluated in the midbrain neuron-glia coculture system in rats. The cytokine/chemokine array was performed to measure the differences of amounts of cytokines released from midbrain in the presence and absence of HCV. The crude odds ratios (ORs) for having PD were 0.62 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.48-0.81] and 1.91 (95% CI, 1.48-2.47) for hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HCV. After controlling for potential confounders, the association between HCV and PD remained statistically significant (adjusted OR = 1.39; 95% CI, 1.07-1.80), but not significantly different between HBV and PD. The HCV induced 60% dopaminergic neuron death in the midbrain neuron-glia coculture system in rats, similar to that of 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+) but not caused by HBV. This link was further supported by the finding that HCV infection may release the inflammatory cytokines, which may play a role in the pathogenesis of PD. In conclusion, our study demonstrated a significantly positive epidemiological association between HCV infection and PD and corroborated the dopaminergic toxicity of HCV similar to that of MPP+.
ASJC Scopus subject areas