The efficacy of amantadine in alleviating motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease may be mediated in part by stimulation of cerebral dopa decarboxylase (DDC) activity, secondary to antagonism of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) type glutamate receptors. We tested the specific hypothesis that amantadine increases the decarboxylation rate of 6-[18F]fluoro-L-DOPA (FDOPA), an exogenous substrate for DDC, in healthy human brain. Radioactivity concentrations in brain tissue of neurologically normal volunteers (n = 5) injected intravenously with FDOPA (~4.5 mCi) were recorded by positron emission tomography (PET) for 120 min, first in a baseline condition, and again following three consecutive days of treatment with amantadine (100 mg/day, p.o.). Data from four telencephalic regions of interest containing appreciable DDC activity were analyzed with the tissue slope-intercept plot, using cerebellar cortex as the reference tissue, to estimate a coefficient of in situ FDOPA decarboxylation (k3(r), min-1). Mean estimates of k3(r) were increased following amantadine treatment in caudate nucleus (+12%), putamen (+28%), ventral striatum (+27%), and frontal cortex (+9%). For an initial confidence level of 95%, paired one-sided Student's t-tests with Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons revealed a statistically significant drug effect in ventral striatum. Present results are consistent with stimulation of DDC activity in striatum of healthy human brain secondary to NMDA receptor antagonism with a low dose of amantadine, and suggest that this response is an important mechanism underlying the anti-parkinsonian properties of amantadine. Nonetheless, PET studies in parkinsonian patients using higher, clinically effective doses of amantadine may reveal more pronounced enhancements of cerebral DDC activity.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - Dec 15 1999|
- Coefficient of decarboxylation
- Parkinson's disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience