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L-[18F] fluorodopa was administered in trace amounts intravenously to healthy control subjects and to patients with Parkinson's disease. Striatal uptake of radioactivity was measured using positron emission tomography. The capacity of the striatum to retain tracer was severely impaired in patients compared to controls. This may reflect a reduction of striatal dopamine storage in Parkinson's disease. Patients showing the "on/off" phenomenon had an even greater decrease of striatal storage capacity.