Loss of 123I-MIBG uptake by the heart in Parkinson's disease: assessment of cardiac sympathetic denervation and diagnostic value

J Nucl Med. 1999 Mar;40(3):371-5.


Myocardial imaging with 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) was performed on 35 patients with Parkinson's disease and 24 control subjects to evaluate cardiac sympathetic function in patients with Parkinson's disease, verify this phenomenon and examine whether myocardial MIBG uptake and clearance are correlated with the clinical severity of Parkinson's disease.

Methods: We studied 35 patients with Parkinson's disease and 24 control subjects with other central nervous system diseases. The latter group consisted of 12 subjects with other neurodegenerative disorders (4 with spinocerebellar degeneration, 2 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, 3 with progressive supranuclear palsy and 3 with corticobasal degeneration and 12 patients with cerebral infarction (CI), 6 with vascular parkinsonism and 6 without it. Early and delayed images of the anterior view were obtained 15 min and 4 h after injection of 123I-MIBG, respectively. MIBG uptake was quantified by calculating a heart-to-mediastinum count (H/M) ratio.

Results: The H/M ratio was markedly reduced in the patients with Parkinson's disease (II to V on the Hoehn and Yahr scale) compared with the control subjects. None of the subjects with neurodegenerative diseases showed a marked decrease in myocardial MIBG uptake nor did any subject with CI.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that, in Parkinson's disease, a reduction in myocardial MIBG uptake is a very common, specific phenomenon that can be used to detect cardiac autonomic dysfunction to diagnose Parkinson's disease, particularly in patients without typical signs and symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart / innervation
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiopathology*


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine