Background Cognitive impairment may be correlated with cardiovascular dysautonomia, including blood pressure (BP) dysregulation, in Parkinson’s disease (PD), but the association between these factors in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is uncertain. This study aimed to clarify whether cardiovascular dysautonomia had an influence on cognitive function in Lewy body disease or not.
Methods 99 patients with de novo PD (n=75) and DLB (n=24) were evaluated using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB). Cardiac 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy, orthostatic hypotension (OH), supine hypertension (SH), postprandial hypotension (PPH), nocturnal BP fall in 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) and constipation were estimated. Associations of these factors with cognitive and executive dysfunction were examined.
Results In DLB, MIBG uptake was reduced and OH, PPH and SH were severely disturbed, compared to PD. The nocturnal BP fall in ABPM was lower in DLB, and the failure of nocturnal BP fall in PD was associated with MMSE, after adjustment for other clinical features. FAB was significantly associated nocturnal BP fall, age and SH in PD, but no significant correlations among factors were found for DLB.
Conclusion The significant association between nocturnal BP dysregulation and cognitive or executive decline in PD might be due to impaired microvascular circulation or invasion of α-synuclein in the CNS. The lack of a correlation of BP insufficiency with cognitive impairment in DLB suggests initial involvement of Lewy body pathology in the neocortex, regardless of Lewy body invasion of the autonomic nervous system.