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1.  Measuring the rate of progression and estimating the preclinical period of Parkinson's disease with [18F]dopa PET 
OBJECTIVES—To measure the rate of progression in striatal [18F]dopa metabolism in a large group (n=32) of patients with Parkinson's disease, to estimate the average duration of preclinical period, and to examine the influence of the PET method on the assessment of rate of progression and preclinical period.
METHODS—Thirty two patients with Parkinson's disease (mean age 58 (SD 13) years, mean duration 39 (SD 33) months) were assessed with [18F]dopa PET and UPDRS scoring on two occasions a mean of 18 (SD 6) months apart. PET data were sampled with separate caudate and putamen and total striatal regions of interest, and both graphical (Ki) and ratio methods of analysis.
RESULTS—The mean annual rate of deterioration in [18F]dopa uptake varied according to structure and method of analysis, with putamen Ki showing the most rapid mean rate of progression (4.7% of normal mean per year). The group showed a significant deterioration (p<0.0004, paired two tailed t test) in UPDRS and in the putamen (p=0.008) and total striatal (p=0.012) [18F]dopa uptake measured using a graphical analysis, but no significant change in caudate or putamen uptake measured by a ratio approach. A study of sensitivity confirmed that putamen Ki was the most sensitive measure of disease progression, caudate ratio the least. Symptom onset in Parkinson's disease was estimated at a mean putamen [18F]dopa uptake (Ki) of 75% of normal and a mean caudate [18F]dopa uptake (Ki) of 91% of normal.
CONCLUSIONS—Estimation of mean rate of progression varies according to the sensitivity of a functional imaging method to clinical severity. Sensitivity and reproducibility of method must be considered when designing studies of disease progression and neuroprotection. The mean preclinical period in Parkinson's disease is unlikely to be longer than seven years.

PMCID: PMC2170010  PMID: 9527140
2.  Differential diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, multiple system atrophy, and Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome: discriminant analysis of striatal 18F-dopa PET data. 
Clinicopathological series indicate that the clinical diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is correct in only 80% of cases. Multiple system atrophy (MSA) and Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome (SRO) comprise most of the misdiagnoses. By means of 18F-dopa PET the pattern of nigrostriatal dopaminergic dysfunction in 28 patients with clinically probable Parkinson's disease, 25 with MSA, and 10 patients with SRO, was assessed and compared with the pattern in 27 normal subjects. Discriminant function analysis was used to assess the ability of 18F-dopa PET to categorize individual parkinsonian patients on the basis of their caudate and putamen tracer uptake. Discriminant function analysis assigned all control subjects a normal category. One Parkinsonian patient out of 63 was classified as "normal" on the basis of PET findings, although this patient had significantly reduced putamen 18F-dopa uptake. Discriminant function analysis was less effective at distinguishing different categories of akinetic-rigid syndrome on the basis of their striatal 18F-dopa uptake, as judged against clinical criteria. Patients clinically labelled as having typical or atypical Parkinsonian syndromes were assigned the same category on PET criteria 64% and 69% of the time, respectively. When all three categories of Parkinson's disease, MSA, and SRO were considered together, clinical and 18F-dopa PET findings correlated in 64% of patients assigned a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease and 70% of those given a diagnosis of SRO; MSA was less readily discriminated, patients with MSA being assigned to MSA, Parkinson's disease, and SRO groups with equal frequency. The correlation between clinical and discriminant function analysis assignment improved when separate comparisons were made between Parkinson's disease and MSA, or Parkinson's disease and SRO groups. In these analyses, clinical and PET categorisation of MSA and Parkinson's disease agreed in 60% of cases, and of SRO and Parkinson's disease in 90% of cases. In summary, (18)F-dopa PET successfully discriminates normal subjects from parkinsonian patients, and patients with Parkinson's disease from patients with SRO, but is less reliable in distinguishing Parkinson's disease from MSA. The concomitant assessment of striatal neuronal function with additional PET tracers may be necessary to reliably differentiate typical and atypical parkinsonian syndromes.
PMCID: PMC1072814  PMID: 8158173
3.  Parkinson’s Disease Subtypes Show a Specific Link between Dopaminergic and Glucose Metabolism in the Striatum 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96629.
Previous studies have shown different clinical and imaging pattern in tremordominant and akinetic-rigid Parkinson’s disease (PD) subtypes. The association between dopaminergic and glucose metabolism has in contrast not been investigated yet. Therefore, this study compared PD subtypes with respect to clinical and imaging findings with the aim of establishing a relationship between clinical subtypes, dopamine and glucose metabolism.
Two groups of a total of 64 idiopathic PD patients (42 male, 22 female, mean age 56±10.9 years) were analysed: akinetic-rigid (AR, n = 32) and tremor-dominant (TD, n = 32) patients. Both were compared with respect to differential involvement of local striatal dopamine and glucose metabolism using [18F]-fluoro-L-dopa (F-dopa) and [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET.
The analysis of PD subgroups showed significant differences in the F-dopa uptake in the anterior putamen. Using the results of the local striatal dopamine difference as a volume of interest for the FDG-analysis, analysis of AR patients revealed a significantly lower normalised cerebral metabolic rate of glucose (nCMRGlc) within the ventral striatum.
The dual tracer study illlustrates clear differences between TD and AR subtypes in the ventral striatum. In accordance with previous FP-CIT-SPECT studies, it discloses congruent results for the presynaptic dopaminergic system and extends the knowledge about an additional involvement of local metabolic activity in the caudate and anterior putamen. The findings corroborate the specific role of distinct PD subtypes within the cerebello-thalamo-cortical-circuits. Multitracer PET imaging may thus enhance the knowledge about the clinical segregation into subtypes.
PMCID: PMC4029550  PMID: 24848641
4.  Normal biodistribution pattern and physiologic variants of 18F-DOPA PET imaging 
Nuclear Medicine Communications  2013;34(12):1141-1149.
Dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) is a neutral amino acid that resembles natural l-dopa (dopamine precursor). It enters the catecholamine metabolic pathway of endogenous l-DOPA in the brain and peripheral tissues. It is amenable to labeling with fluorine-18 (18F) for PET imaging and was originally used in patients with Parkinson’s disease to assess the integrity of the striatal dopaminergic system. The recent introduction and use of hybrid PET/CT scanners has contributed significantly to the management of a series of other pathologies including neuroendocrine tumors, brain tumors, and pancreatic cell hyperplasia. These pathologic entities present an increased activity of l-DOPA decarboxylase and therefore demonstrate high uptake of 18F-DOPA. Despite these potentially promising applications in several clinical fields, the role of 18F-DOPA has not been elucidated completely yet because of associated difficulties in synthesis and availability. Unfortunately, the available literature does not provide recommendations for procedures or administered activity, acquisition timing, and premedication with carbidopa. The aim of this paper is to outline the physiological biodistribution and normal variants, including possible pitfalls that may lead to misinterpretations of the scans in various clinical settings.
PMCID: PMC3815120  PMID: 24128899
biodistribution; 18F-DOPA; 18F-DOPA pitfalls; 18F-DOPA variants; l-6-fluoro-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine PET/CT; physiologic pattern
5.  Lateralisation of striatal function: evidence from 18F-dopa PET in Parkinson's disease 
Objectives: The aetiology of the cognitive changes seen in Parkinson's disease (PD) is multifactorial but it is likely that a significant contribution arises from the disruption of dopaminergic pathways. This study aimed to investigate the contribution of the dopaminergic system to performance on two executive tasks using 18F-6-fluorodopa positron emission tomography (18F-dopa PET) in PD subjects with early cognitive changes.
Methods: 16 non-demented, non-depressed PD subjects were evaluated with the Tower of London (TOL) spatial planning task, a verbal working memory task (VWMT) and 18F-dopa PET, all known to be affected in early PD. Statistical parametric mapping (SPM) localised brain regions in which 18F-dopa uptake covaried with performance scores. Frontal cortical resting glucose metabolism was assessed with 18F-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (18F-FDG) PET.
Results: SPM localised significant covariation between right caudate 18F-dopa uptake (Ki) and TOL scores and between left anterior putamen Ki and VWMT performance. No significant covariation was found between task scores and 18F-dopa Ki values in either limbic or cortical regions. Frontal cortical glucose metabolism was preserved in all cases.
Conclusions: These findings support a causative role of striatal dopaminergic depletion in the early impairment of executive functions seen in PD. They suggest that spatial and verbal executive tasks require integrity of the right and left striatum, respectively, and imply that the pattern of cognitive changes manifest by a patient with PD may reflect differential dopamine loss in the two striatal complexes.
PMCID: PMC1739780  PMID: 16107352
6.  Differential Diagnosis of Parkinsonism Using Dual-Phase F-18 FP-CIT PET Imaging 
Dopamine transporter (DAT) imaging can demonstrate presynaptic dopaminergic neuronal loss in Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, differentiating atypical parkinsonism (APD) from PD is often difficult. We investigated the usefulness of dual-phase F-18 FP-CIT positron emission tomography (PET) imaging in the differential diagnosis of parkinsonism.
Ninety-eight subjects [five normal, seven drug-induced parkinsonism (DIP), five essential tremor (ET), 24 PD, 20 multiple system atrophy-parkinson type (MSA-P), 13 multiple system atrophy-cerebellar type (MSA-C), 13 progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and 11 dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)] underwent F-18 FP-CIT PET. PET images were acquired at 5 min (early phase) and 3 h (late phase) after F-18 FP-CIT administration (185 MBq). Regional uptake pattern of cerebral and cerebellar hemispheres was assessed on early phase images and striatal DAT binding pattern was assessed on late phase images, using visual, quantitative, and statistical parametric mapping (SPM) analyses.
Striatal DAT binding was normal in normal, ET, DIP, and MSA-C groups, but abnormal in PD, MSA-P, PSP, and DLB groups. No difference was found in regional uptake on early phase images among normal DAT binding groups, except in the MSA-C group. Abnormal DAT binding groups showed different regional uptake pattern on early phase images compared with PD in SPM analysis (FDR < 0.05). When discriminating APD from PD, visual interpretation of the early phase image showed high diagnostic sensitivity and specificity (75.4 % and 100 %, respectively). Regarding the ability to distinguish specific APD, sensitivities were 81 % for MSA-P, 77 % for MSA-C, 23 % for PSP, and 54.5 % for DLB.
Dual-phase F-18 FP-CIT PET imaging is useful in demonstrating striatal DAT loss in neurodegenerative parkinsonism, and also in differentiating APD, particularly MSA, from PD.
PMCID: PMC4035208  PMID: 24895507
Atypical parkinsonism; Dual-phase; F-18 FP-CIT; Positron emission tomography; PET
7.  Pattern of dopaminergic loss in the striatum of humans with MPTP induced parkinsonism 
OBJECTIVES—To examine the distribution of striatal dopaminergic function in humans with parkinsonism induced by 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) to determine if there is a caudate-putamen gradient as is seen in idiopathic Parkinson's disease.
METHODS—We scanned nine humans exposed to MPTP with parkinsonism ranging from minimal to severe using [18F]fluorodopa (FD) and high resolution PET. The results were compared with those of 10 patients with Parkinson's disease and six normal subjects.
RESULTS—In the MPTP group there was an equal degree of reduction of dopaminergic function in the caudate and putamen. This was different from the greater putaminal than caudate loss in Parkinson's disease (p<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS—Parkinson's disease is not caused by transient exposure to MPTP.

PMCID: PMC1736814  PMID: 10675212
8.  Statistical parametric mapping with 18F-dopa PET shows bilaterally reduced striatal and nigral dopaminergic function in early Parkinson's disease 
OBJECTIVE—To apply statistical parametric mapping to 18F-dopa PET data sets, to examine the regional distribution of changes in dopaminergic metabolism in early asymmetric Parkinson's disease.
METHODS—Thirteen normal volunteers (age 57.7 (SD 16.5) years; four women, nine men ) and six patients (age 50.3 (SD 13.5) years; three women, three men) with asymmetric (right sided) Parkinson's disease were studied. Images from each dynamic dopa PET dataset were aligned and parametric images of 18F-dopa influx (Ki) were created for each subject. The Ki images were transformed into standard stereotactic space. The Ki values of the caudate and putamen on spatially normalised images were compared with the Ki values before normalisation. The application of statistical parametric mapping (SPM) allowed statistical comparison of regional Ki values on a voxel by voxel basis between healthy volunteers and patients with Parkinson's disease.
RESULTS—There was a strong correlation between the Ki values before and after spatial normalisation (r=0.898, p=0.0001). Significant decreases in the Ki values were found for the Parkinson's desease group throughout the entire left putamen (p< 0.001) and focally in the dorsal right putamen (p< 0.001). Decreased Ki values were also shown bilaterally in the substantia nigra (p< 0.01).
CONCLUSION—Using (SPM) and 18F-dopa PET, reductions in both striatal and nigral brain dopaminergic function could be demonstrated in early Parkinson's disease.

PMCID: PMC1736402  PMID: 10329749
9.  An analysis of six patients with Parkinson's disease who have been unresponsive to L-dopa therapy 
Six patients diagnosed as Parkinson's disease on a clinical basis alone are described, and their response to L-dopa and to alpha methyl dopa hydrazine (MK 486) and L-dopa. They are compared with 239 other patients with Parkinson's disease treated in the same time period. These six patients were unusual in that they did not have a clinical response to L-dopa, nor did they develop dyskinesias on L-dopa or on L-dopa with MK 486, although they showed high blood levels of L-dopa and high homovanillic acid levels in the spinal fluid. Unresponsiveness to L-dopa is attributed to a specific brain mechanism and not to problems of transport of L-dopa to the brain or to abnormal peripheral metabolism of L-dopa. The term `motor unresponsiveness to L-dopa' may be useful to describe such patients who may eventually be shown to be suffering from diseases other than Parkinsonism.
PMCID: PMC494334  PMID: 4714098
10.  A longitudinal study of motor performance and striatal [18F]fluorodopa uptake in Parkinson's disease 
Brain imaging and behavior  2011;5(3):203-211.
Although [18F]fluoro-L-dopa [FDOPA] positron emission tomography (PET) has been used as a surrogate outcome measure in Parkinson's disease therapeutic trials, this biomarker has not been proven to reflect clinical status longitudinally. We completed a retrospective analysis of relationships between computerized sampling of motor performance, FDOPA PET, and clinical outcome scales, repeated over 4 years, in 26 Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and 11 healthy controls. Mixed effects analyses showed that movement time and tongue strength best differentiated PD from control subjects. In the treated PD cohort, motor performance measures changed gradually in contrast to a steady decline in striatal FDOPA uptake. Prolonged reaction and movement time were related to lower caudate nucleus FDOPA uptake, and abnormalities in hand fine force control were related to mean striatal FDOPA uptake. These findings provide evidence that regional loss of nigrostriatal inputs to frontostriatal networks affects specific aspects of motor function.
PMCID: PMC3150388  PMID: 21556744
Fluorodopa; motor control; Parkinson's disease; positron emission tomography; ageing; Tongue/*physiopathology; Facial Muscles/*physiopathology
11.  PET studies of the presynaptic and postsynaptic dopaminergic system in Tourette's syndrome. 
Dysfunction of the dopaminergic pathway has been postulated to underlie the symptomatology of Tourette's syndrome. Presynaptic functional integrity of dopaminergic terminals was assessed with 18F-dopa PET in 10 patients with Tourette's syndrome, three of whom were drug free and seven of whom were on neuroleptic treatment. Dopamine D2 receptor site density was measured with 11C-raclopride PET in a further group of five drug free patients with Tourette's syndrome. Mean caudate and putamen 18F-dopa influx constants were similar in patients with Tourette's syndrome and controls, and there was no difference in striatal 18F-dopa uptake between the treated and untreated Tourette's syndrome groups. Mean caudate and putamen 11C-raclopride binding potentials in patients with Tourette's syndrome were also similar to control values. The findings suggest that striatal metabolism of exogenous levodopa and the density of striatal D2 receptors are both normal in patients with Tourette's syndrome and that Tourette's syndrome does not arise from a primary dysfunction of dopaminergic terminals.
PMCID: PMC1072970  PMID: 7911827
12.  Implanted reuptake-deficient or wild-type dopaminergic neurons improve ON l-dopa dyskinesias without OFF-dyskinesias in a rat model of Parkinson's disease 
Brain  2008;131(12):3361-3379.
OFF-l-dopa dyskinesias have been a surprising side-effect of intrastriatal foetal ventral mesencephalic transplantation in patients with Parkinson's disease. It has been proposed that excessive and unregulated dopaminergic stimulation of host post-synaptic striatal neurons by the grafts could be responsible for these dyskinesias. To address this issue we transplanted foetal dopaminergic neurons from mice lacking the dopamine transporter (DATKO) or from wild-type mice, into a rat model of Parkinson's disease and l-dopa-induced dyskinesias. Both wild-type and DATKO grafts reinnervated the host striatum to a similar extent, but DATKO grafts produced a greater and more diffuse increase in extra-cellular striatal dopamine levels. Interestingly, grafts containing wild-type dopaminergic neurons improved parkinsonian signs to a similar extent as DATKO grafts, but provided a more complete reduction of l-dopa induced dyskinesias. Neither DATKO nor wild-type grafts induced OFF-l-dopa dyskinesias. Behavioural and receptor autoradiography analyses demonstrated that DATKO grafts induced a greater normalization of striatal dopaminergic receptor supersensitivity than wild-type grafts. Both graft types induced a similar downregulation and normalization of PEnk and fosb/Δfosb in striatal neurons. In summary, DATKO grafts causing high and diffuse extra-cellular dompamine levels do not per se alter graft-induced recovery or produce OFF-l-dopa dyskinesias. Wild-type dopaminergic neurons appear to be the most effective neuronal type to restore function and reduce l-dopa-induced dyskinesias.
PMCID: PMC2639209  PMID: 18988638
Parkinson's disease; transplantation; dyskinesia; dopamine; synapse
13.  Positron Emission Tomography in the Differential Diagnosis of Parkinsonism 
Journal of Movement Disorders  2009;2(2):53-57.
Positron emission tomography (PET) studies on presynaptic dopaminergic function can reveal hypofunction in early Parkinson’s disease (PD) which may help in the early diagnosis especially in patients with mild symptoms. This hypofunction can be detected with fluorodopa (reflecting mainly aromatic amino acid decarboxylase activity of nigrostriatal terminals) or dopamine transporter ligands. These studies can also help to distinguish PD from essential tremor. However, investigations of presynaptic dopaminergic function are not useful in the differential diagnosis of parkinsonian syndromes. PET ligands, such as fluorodeoxyglucose (reflecting glucose metabolism) and dopamine receptor ligands, reflecting striatal neuronal function are better in this respect. Cardiac sympathetic function studies represent a new and interesting approach to improve differential diagnosis of parkinsonian syndromes but more studies are needed in larger patient populations with longer follow-up to evaluate the usefulness of these investigations. Multitracer approach combining ligands reflecting different aspects of dopaminergic neurotransmission and other physiological function will increase differential diagnostic accuracy.
PMCID: PMC4027724  PMID: 24868357
Parkinsonism; PET
14.  How useful is [123I]ß-CIT SPECT in clinical practice? 
Objective: To assess the accuracy and clinical usefulness of [123I]ß-CIT (2ß-carbomethoxy-3ß-(4-iodophenyl)tropane) SPECT in the differential diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
Subjects: 185 consecutive patients with symptoms of movement disorder were studied. The diagnoses were Parkinson's disease (92), essential tremor (16), vascular parkinsonism (15), various Parkinson plus syndromes (P+) (12), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) (5), dystonia (5), drug induced movement disorder (12), and other diagnoses (8). A reference group (psychogenic parkinsonism) comprised 20 subjects with complaints suggesting extrapyramidal disease but with no unequivocal signs on clinical examination and no abnormalities on brain imaging.
Results: ß-CIT uptake was significantly lower in the whole striatum as well as separately in the putamen and in the caudate nucleus in Parkinson's disease than in the reference group or in drug induced movement disorder, essential tremor, or dystonia. The uptake of ß-CIT in the vascular parkinsonism group was heterogeneous and mean ß-CIT uptake fell between the reference group and the Parkinson's disease group. In the P+ and DLB groups the striatal uptake ratios overlapped those of the Parkinson's disease group.
Conclusions: [123I]ß-CIT SPECT may not be as useful a tool in the clinical differential diagnosis of Parkinson's disease as was previously believed, but it was 100% sensitive and specific for the diagnosis in younger patients (age <55 years). In older patients (age >55 years) specificity was substantially lower (68.5%). This differential specificity reflected the different distribution of differential diagnostic disorders (P+, DLB, vascular parkinsonism) in the older and younger age groups.
PMCID: PMC1739796  PMID: 16107353
15.  Altered Resting State Cortico-Striatal Connectivity in Mild to Moderate Stage Parkinson's Disease 
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by dopamine depletion in the striatum. One consistent pathophysiological hallmark of PD is an increase in spontaneous oscillatory activity in the basal ganglia thalamocortical networks. We evaluated these effects using resting state functional connectivity MRI in mild to moderate stage Parkinson's patients on and off l-DOPA and age-matched controls using six different striatal seed regions. We observed an overall increase in the strength of cortico-striatal functional connectivity in PD patients off l-DOPA compared to controls. This enhanced connectivity was down-regulated by l-DOPA as shown by an overall decrease in connectivity strength, particularly within motor cortical regions. We also performed a frequency content analysis of the BOLD signal time course extracted from the six striatal seed regions. PD off l-DOPA exhibited increased power in the frequency band 0.02–0.05 Hz compared to controls and to PD on l-DOPA. The l-DOPA associated decrease in the power of this frequency range modulated the l-DOPA associated decrease in connectivity strength between striatal seeds and the thalamus. In addition, the l-DOPA associated decrease in power in this frequency band correlated with the l-DOPA associated improvement in cognitive performance. Our results demonstrate that PD and l-DOPA modulate striatal resting state BOLD signal oscillations and cortico-striatal network coherence.
PMCID: PMC3009475  PMID: 21206528
dopamine; Parkinson's disease; fMRI; functional connectivity; striatum; neural oscillation
16.  High-frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus prolongs the increase in striatal dopamine induced by acute l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine in dopaminergic denervated rats 
The European Journal of Neuroscience  2007;26(6):1670-1680.
High-frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN-HFS) is a powerful approach for treating the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. It results in clinical improvement in PD patients, further reducing L-3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) requirement and thus L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia. However, it remains unclear how STN-HFS modifies the response to L-DOPA. We investigated the effect of STN-HFS on striatal extracellular concentrations of dopamine and its metabolites following acute L-DOPA administration in intact or partially dopaminergic denervated (DA PL) rats. L-DOPA treatment significantly increased striatal dopamine levels in intact and DA PL animals, with the maximal effect observed 1 h after L-DOPA injection. This increase was more pronounced in DA PL rats (ipsilateral to the lesion) than in intact animals. It remained fairly stable 1 h after the maximal effect of L-DOPA and then decreased towards basal values. STN-HFS in intact rats had no effect on the maximal L-DOPA-induced increase in striatal extracellular dopamine concentration or the return to basal values, the profiles observed being similar to those for non-stimulated intact animals. Conversely, STN-HFS amplified the L-DOPA-induced increase in striatal dopamine levels during the stimulation period (1 h) in DA PL rats, and this increase was sustained throughout the post-stimulation period (2.5 h), without the return to basal levels observed in stimulated intact and non-stimulated rats. These new neurochemical data suggest that STN-HFS interferes with L-DOPA effects, probably synergically, by stabilising dopamine levels in the striatum, and shed light on the mechanisms of STN-HFS in PD.
PMCID: PMC2798123  PMID: 17822436
3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid; metabolism; Animals; Data Interpretation, Statistical; Denervation; Dihydroxyphenylalanine; pharmacology; Dopamine; metabolism; Dopamine Agents; pharmacology; Electric Stimulation; Extracellular Space; drug effects; metabolism; Homovanillic Acid; metabolism; Male; Microdialysis; Neostriatum; drug effects; metabolism; physiology; Oxidopamine; Rats; Rats, Sprague-Dawley; Subthalamic Nucleus; physiology; Synaptic Transmission; drug effects; physiology; Parkinson's disease; high-frequency stimulation; subthalamic nucleus; dopamine; L-DOPA treatment
17.  Lentiviral Overexpression of GRK6 Alleviates L-Dopa–Induced Dyskinesia in Experimental Parkinson’s Disease 
Science translational medicine  2010;2(28):28ra28.
Parkinson’s disease is caused primarily by degeneration of brain dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and the consequent deficit of dopamine in the striatum. Dopamine replacement therapy with the dopamine precursor L-dopa is the mainstay of current treatment. After several years, however, the patients develop L-dopa–induced dyskinesia, or abnormal involuntary movements, thought to be due to excessive signaling via dopamine receptors. G protein–coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) control desensitization of dopamine receptors. We found that dyskinesia is attenuated by lentivirus-mediated overexpression of GRK6 in the striatum in rodent and primate models of Parkinson’s disease. Conversely, reduction of GRK6 concentration by microRNA delivered with lentiviral vector exacerbated dyskinesia in parkinsonian rats. GRK6 suppressed dyskinesia in monkeys without compromising the anti-parkinsonian effects of L-dopa and even prolonged the antiparkinsonian effect of a lower dose of L-dopa. Our finding that increased availability of GRK6 ameliorates dyskinesia and increases duration of the antiparkinsonian action of L-dopa suggests a promising approach for controlling both dyskinesia and motor fluctuations in Parkinson’s disease.
PMCID: PMC2933751  PMID: 20410529
18.  Dopaminergic Neuronal Imaging in Genetic Parkinson's Disease: Insights into Pathogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69190.
To compare the dopaminergic neuronal imaging features of different subtypes of genetic Parkinson's Disease.
A retrospective study of genetic Parkinson's diseases cases in which DaTSCAN (123I-FP-CIT) had been performed. Specific non-displaceable binding was calculated for bilateral caudate and putamen for each case. The right:left asymmetry index and striatal asymmetry index was calculated.
Scans were available from 37 cases of monogenetic Parkinson's disease (7 glucocerebrosidase (GBA) mutations, 8 alpha-synuclein, 3 LRRK2, 7 PINK1, 12 Parkin). The asymmetry of radioligand uptake for Parkinson's disease with GBA or LRRK2 mutations was greater than that for Parkinson's disease with alpha synuclein, PINK1 or Parkin mutations.
The asymmetry of radioligand uptake in Parkinsons disease associated with GBA or LRRK2 mutations suggests that interactions with additional genetic or environmental factors may be associated with dopaminergic neuronal loss.
PMCID: PMC3720622  PMID: 23935950
19.  The apomorphine test in parkinsonian syndromes. 
The dopamine receptor agonist apomorphine has been used successfully to treat on-off swings in Parkinson's disease. Its value as a predictor of dopa responsiveness in idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD) was assessed and its potential role in differentiating IPD from the Parkinsonian plus syndromes (PPS) of multisystem atrophy, progressive supranuclear palsy and olivopontocerebellar atrophy was investigated. The response to an injection of apomorphine was observed in 20 patients with IPD and eight with PPS after being off levodopa for 12 hours. Patients were reassessed after taking levodopa for one month. Nineteen of the 20 patients (95%) with IPD showed a positive response to apomorphine and 18 (90%) to oral levodopa. In the PPS group, two patients (25%) responded to the apomorphine injection but not to oral levodopa. Apomorphine produced severe drowsiness in the PPS patients. It is suggested that the test can predict dopa responsiveness in IPD and may be of help in confirming a doubtful diagnosis. It has potential value in differentiating IPD from PPS.
PMCID: PMC1014569  PMID: 1744640
20.  Differentiating multiple system atrophy from Parkinson's disease: contribution of striatal and midbrain MRI volumetry and multi-tracer PET imaging 
Objectives: The differential diagnosis between typical idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) and the striatonigral variant of multiple system atrophy (MSA-P) is often difficult because of the presence of signs and symptoms common to both forms of parkinsonism, particularly at symptom onset. This study investigated striatal and midbrain findings in MSA-P and PD patients in comparison with normal controls with the use of positron emission tomography (PET) and three dimensional magnetic resonance imaging (3D MRI) based volumetry to increase the differential diagnostic accuracy between both disease entities.
Methods: Nine patients with MSA-P, 24 patients with PD, and seven healthy controls were studied by MRI and PET with 6-[18F]-fluoro-L-dopa (FDOPA), [18F]fluoro-deoxyglucose (FDG), and 11-C-Raclopride (RACLO). Striatal and extrastriatal volumes of interest (VOI) were calculated on the basis of the individual MRI data. The PET data were transferred to the VOI datasets and subsequently analysed.
Results: MSA-P differed significantly from PD patients in terms of decreased putaminal volume, glucose metabolism, and postsynaptic D2 receptor density. The striatal FDOPA uptake was equally impaired in both conditions. Neither MRI volumetry nor PET imaging of the midbrain region further contributed to the differential diagnosis between PD and MSA-P.
Conclusions: The extent and spatial distribution of functional and morphological changes in the striatum permit the differentiation of MSA-P from PD. Both, multi-tracer PET and 3D MRI based volumetry, may be considered equivalent in the assessment of different striatal abnormality in both disease entities. In contrast, MRI and PET imaging of the midbrain does not provide a further gain in diagnostic accuracy.
PMCID: PMC1738131  PMID: 12397143
21.  Parkinson's disease. 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  1997;73(859):257-264.
Parkinson's disease is a common disabling disease of old age. The diagnosis of idiopathic Parkinson's disease is based on clinical signs and has poor sensitivity, with about 25% of patients confidently diagnosed as having the disease actually having other conditions such as multi-system atrophy and other parkinsonism-plus syndromes. Benign essential tremor and arteriosclerotic pseudo-parkinsonism can easily be confused with Parkinson's disease. The cause of Parkinson's disease remains unknown. Speculative research highlights the role of oxidative stress and free radical mediated damage to dopaminergic cells. Parkinson's disease is the one neurodegenerative disorder in which drugs have been demonstrated to be of value. There is now a wide variety of drugs and formulations available, including anticholinergics, amantidine, L-dopa, dopamine agonists including apomorphine, selegiline and soon to be available catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors. Disabling side-effects of treatment, fluctuations, dyskinesias and psychiatric problems require strategic use of the drugs available. There is an increasing potential for neurosurgical intervention.
PMCID: PMC2431321  PMID: 9196696
22.  Advanced Parkinson's disease effect on goal-directed and habitual processes involved in visuomotor associative learning 
The present behavioral study re-addresses the question of habit learning in Parkinson's disease (PD). Patients were early onset, non-demented, dopa-responsive, candidates for surgical treatment, similar to those we found earlier as suffering greater dopamine depletion in the putamen than in the caudate nucleus. The task was the same conditional associative learning task as that used previously in monkeys and healthy humans to unveil the striatum involvement in habit learning. Sixteen patients and 20 age- and education-matched healthy control subjects learned sets of 3 visuo-motor associations between complex patterns and joystick displacements during two testing sessions separated by a few hours. We distinguished errors preceding vs. following the first correct response to compare patients' performance during the earliest phase of learning dominated by goal-directed actions with that observed later on, when responses start to become habitual. The disease significantly retarded both learning phases, especially in patients under 60 years of age. However, only the late phase deficit was disease severity-dependent and persisted on the second testing session. These findings provide the first corroboration in Parkinson patients of two ideas well-established in the animal literature. The first is the idea that associating visual stimuli to motor acts is a form of habit learning that engages the striatum. It is confirmed here by the global impairment in visuo-motor learning induced by PD. The second idea is that goal-directed behaviors are predominantly caudate-dependent whereas habitual responses are primarily putamen-dependent. At the advanced PD stages tested here, dopamine depletion is greater in the putamen than in the caudate nucleus. Accordingly, the late phase of learning corresponding to the emergence of habitual responses was more vulnerable to the disease than the early phase dominated by goal-directed actions.
PMCID: PMC3560419  PMID: 23386815
feedback-based learning; striatum; habits; goal-directed actions; Parkinson's disease
23.  Benefits of putaminal GDNF infusion in Parkinson disease are maintained after GDNF cessation 
Neurology  2013;81(13):1176-1178.
We previously reported clinical improvement, increase in putamen [18F]-dopa uptake on PET imaging, and neuropathologic evidence of sprouting of dopaminergic fibers following chronic intraputaminal delivery of glial cell line–derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in idiopathic Parkinson disease (PD).1–3 We now provide clinical and PET evidence of persistent efficacy lasting for at least 3 years following cessation of GDNF infusion in a patient with PD. This is a single-case observational study, providing Class IV evidence.
PMCID: PMC3795600  PMID: 23946313
24.  Early pathological changes in the parkinsonian brain demonstrated by diffusion tensor MRI 
Methods: FA values were compared in the extrapyramidal system of 12 patients with Parkinson's disease and eight age matched normal controls.
Results: Patients with Parkinson's disease had significantly decreased FA in the region of interest along a line between the substantia nigra and the lower part of the putamen/caudate complex, in which most of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurones are included. Loss of FA in this region was obvious even during the early clinical stages of Parkinson's disease.
Conclusions: Assuming that the loss of FA parallels the neuronal change in the brain, the results are consistent with the view that more than half the dopaminergic neurones in the nigrostriatal projection are lost before the onset of Parkinson's disease. Close comparison of FA in the basal ganglia may contribute to the early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
PMCID: PMC1738942  PMID: 14966170
25.  Comparison of PET template-based and MRI-based image processing in the quantitative analysis of C11-raclopride PET 
EJNMMI Research  2014;4:7.
Quantitative measures of 11C-raclopride receptor binding can be used as a correlate of postsynaptic D2 receptor density in the striatum, allowing 11C-raclopride positron emission tomography (PET) to be used for the differentiation of Parkinson’s disease from atypical parkinsonian syndromes. Comparison with reference values is recommended to establish a reliable diagnosis. A PET template specific to raclopride may facilitate direct computation of parametric maps without the need for an additional MR scan, aiding automated image analysis.
Sixteen healthy volunteers underwent a dynamic 11C-raclopride PET and a high-resolution T1-weighted MR scan of the brain. PET data from eight healthy subjects was processed to generate a raclopride-specific PET template normalized to standard space. Subsequently, the data processing based on the PET template was validated against the standard magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based method in 8 healthy subjects and 20 patients with suspected parkinsonian syndrome. Semi-quantitative image analysis was performed in Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) and in original image space (OIS) using VOIs derived from a probabilistic brain atlas previously validated by Hammers et al. (Hum Brain Mapp, 15:165–174, 2002).
The striatal-to-cerebellar ratio (SCR) of 11C-raclopride uptake obtained using the PET template was in good agreement with the MRI-based image processing method, yielding a Lin’s concordance coefficient of 0.87. Bland-Altman analysis showed that all measurements were within the ±1.96 standard deviation range. In all 20 patients, the PET template-based processing was successful and manual volume of interest optimization had no further impact on the diagnosis of PD in this patient group. A maximal difference of <5% was found between the measured SCR in MNI space and OIS.
The PET template-based method for automated quantification of postsynaptic D2 receptor density is simple to implement and facilitates rapid, robust and reliable image analysis. There was no significant difference between the SCR values obtained with either PET- or MRI-based image processing. The method presented alleviates the clinical workflow and facilitates automated image analysis.
PMCID: PMC3904930  PMID: 24451009
Neuroimaging; PET/MRI; Raclopride; Movement disorders

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