PET imaging of the dopamine transporter in progressive supranuclear palsy and Parkinson's disease

N. Ilgin, J. Zubieta, S. G. Reich, R. F. Dannals, H. T. Ravert, J. J. Frost James J.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To differentiate the patterns of dopamine transporter loss between idiopathic PD and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Methods: We used the radiotracer [11C]-WIN 35,428 and PET. Regional striatal dopamine transporter binding was measured in the caudate, anterior putamen, and posterior putamen of six patients with L-dopa-responsive stage 2 PD, six patients with PSP, and six age-comparable healthy controls. Results: In patients with idiopathic PD, the most marked abnormality was observed in the posterior putamen (77% reduction), whereas transporter density in the anterior putamen (60% reduction) and the caudate (44% reduction) was less affected. Unlike the patients with PD, the PSP group showed a relatively uniform degree of involvement in the caudate (40% reduction), anterior putamen (47% reduction), and posterior putamen (51% reduction). When posterior putamen/caudate ratios were calculated, these values were significantly lower in patients with PD than they were in patients with PSP (p = 0.0008) and the control group (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Patients with PD have a more pronounced loss of dopamine transporters in the posterior putamen due to a subdivisional involvement of nigrostriatal dopaminergic projections in idiopathic PD. This technique is useful in the determination of neurochemical changes underlying PD and PSP, thus differentiating between them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1221-1226
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 12 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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