Affiliations: Michael Trimble Neuropsychiatry Research Group, BSMHFT and University of Birmingham, UK | Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, UCL and Institute of Neurology, London, UK | School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, UK | Department of Neurology, UHB and University of Birmingham, UK
Note:  Correspondence to: Prof. Andrea E. Cavanna, MD PhD, Department of Neuropsychiatry, The Barberry National Centre for Mental Health, Birmingham B152FG, UK. E-mail: A.Cavanna@ion.ucl.ac.uk
Abstract: Pellagra is a complex systemic disease resulting from inadequate dietary intake of coenzyme precursors nicotinamide and tryptophan. Improved nutritional habits in most developed economies have led to a decrease in clinicians' and researchers' attention to this condition and its pathophysiological bases, although new cases of pellagra have recently been identified in association with alcohol abuse and HIV infection in Western countries. Pellagra is characterized by a complex clinical picture, which can include neuropsychiatric symptoms and Parkinsonian features. Interestingly, pellagra and Parkinson's disease could share some basic pathophysiological mechanisms at the level of nicotinamide metabolism, resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction and alterations in dopaminergic pathways. Both neuropsychiatric and motor symptoms were mentioned in historical reports of pellagra cohorts. Here we present the English translation of the first detailed description of an original case of pellagra with Parkinsonian features, documented in a clinical note by Dr Giuseppe Paravicini one century ago.
Keywords: Pellagra, Parkinson's disease, motor signs, historical description