Imaging amyloidopathy in Parkinson disease and parkinsonian dementia syndromes

Kirk A. Frey, Myria Petrou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Dementia arising in patients with Parkinson disease or parkinsonian neurodegeneration comprises a heterogeneous neuropathology. Clinical labeling of patients with both dementia and Parkinson disease is dichotomous, depending on the temporal development of cognitive impairment and motor parkinsonism. Patients with dementia arising first (or within the first year of PD) are classified as dementia with Lewy bodies; patients with PD for more than 1 year before cognitive decline are classified as Parkinson disease with dementia. Despite this differential clinical classification, autopsy studies demonstrate variable admixtures of cortical synuicleinopathy, Aβ-amyloidopathy and tau neurofibrillary tangle deposition. There are no routine clinical diagnostic measures that accurately distinguish the underlying neuropathologies in individual patients. In the present paper, we review the published literature describing characteristics of fibrillary Aβ-amyloid deposition on the basis of PET radiotracer imaging in patients with Parkinson disease and in parkinsonian dementia syndromes. Although individual reports often include only small-to-modest subject numbers, there is overall suggestion that PD patients have a lower incidence of Aβ-amyloid deposition than seen amongst elderly normal subjects, and that Parkinson disease with dementia patients have a lower incidence of Aβ-amyloid deposition than do patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. These apparent features contrast the findings of Aβ-amyloid-PET imaging in normal aging and the development of Alzheimer disease, where Aβ-amyloid deposition arises asymptomatically and apparently many years before development of signs or symptoms of dementia. It is proposed that focused, prospective studies are needed to further address and understand the complex role(s) of Aβ-amyloid pathology in Parkinson disease, and that this understanding will be critical to the development of targeted disease-modifying therapy for dementia in PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Translational Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2015


  • Amyloid-PET
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Lewy body disease
  • PIB
  • Parkinson disease
  • Parkinson disease with dementia
  • Pittsburgh compound-B

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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