A1 Journal article – refereed
Dorsal-to-Ventral Shift in Midbrain Dopaminergic Projections and Increased Thalamic/Raphe Serotonergic Function in Early Parkinson Disease

List of Authors: Juho Joutsa, Jarkko Johansson, Marko Seppänen, Tommi Noponen, Valtteri Kaasinen
Publication year: 2015
Journal: Journal of Nuclear Medicine
Journal name in source: JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE
Journal acronym: J NUCL MED
Volume number: 56
Issue number: 7
Number of pages: 6
ISSN: 0161-5505
eISSN: 2159-662X


Loss of nigrostriatal neurons leading to dopamine depletion in the dorsal striatum is the pathologic hallmark of Parkinson disease contributing to the primary motor symptoms of the disease. However, Parkinson pathology is more widespread in the brain, affecting also other dopaminergic pathways and neurotransmitter systems, but these changes are less well characterized. This study aimed to investigate the mesencephalic striatal and extrastriatal dopaminergic projections together with extrastriatal serotonin transporter binding in Parkinson disease. Methods: Two hundred sixteen patients with Parkinson disease and 204 control patients (patients without neurodegenerative parkinsonism syndromes and normal SPECT imaging) were investigated with SPECT using the dopamine/serotonin transporter ligand I-123-N-omega-fluoropropyl-2 beta-carbomethoxy-3 beta-(4-iodophenyl)nortropane (I-123-FP-CIT) in the clinical setting. The group differences and midbrain correlations were analyzed voxel by voxel over the entire brain. Results: We found that Parkinson patients had lower I-123-FP-CIT uptake in the striatum and ventral midbrain but higher uptake in the thalamus and raphe nuclei than control patients. In patients with Parkinson disease, the correlation of the midbrain tracer uptake was shifted from the putamen to widespread corticolimbic areas. All findings were highly significant at the voxel level familywise error-corrected P value of less than 0.05. Conclusion: Our findings show that Parkinson disease is associated not only with the degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopamine neurotransmission, but also with a parallel shift toward mesolimbic and mesocortical function. Furthermore, Parkinson disease patients seem to have upregulation of brain serotonin transporter function at the early phase of the disease.

Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 13:56