Preclinical impairment of the striatal dopamine transporter system in sporadic olivopontocerebellar atrophy: studied with [(123)I]beta-CIT and SPECT

Eur Neurol. 2000;43(1):23-9. doi: 10.1159/000008124.


We investigated whether the dopamine (DA) transporter system is impaired in sporadic olivopontocerebellar atrophy (sOPCA) patients without clinical parkinsonism using the DA transporter radiotracer [(123)I]beta-CIT [2beta-carboxymethoxy-3beta-(4-iodophenyl)tropane] and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). SPECT scans were acquired in 9 patients with sOPCA, 7 multiple system atrophy (MSA) patients with parkinsonism (MSA-P), and 7 age-matched healthy controls 20-24 h after the intravenous injection of [(123)I]beta-CIT. [(123)I]beta-CIT-specific binding in the striatum was determined as the radioactivity ratio of the striatum to the occipital cortex (specific binding ratio, SBR). In patients with sOPCA and MSA-P, SBRs in the right and left striatum and the mean SBR were significantly lower than those in controls (p < 0.05). The mean SBRs in patients with sOPCA and MSA-P were reduced to 69.0 and 60.7% of the control mean, respectively. However, there was no significant difference in SBRs between sOPCA and MSA-P patients. In sOPCA patients, the mean SBR was significantly correlated with the score of the clinical cerebellar function scale (r = -0.670, p = 0.024). These results indicate that even in the absence of clinical parkinsonism, the striatal dopaminergic system may be impaired in sOPCA. The DA transporter loss in sOPCA serves as another clue for sOPCA being a part of the spectrum of MSA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Corpus Striatum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olivopontocerebellar Atrophies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Olivopontocerebellar Atrophies / metabolism*
  • Pons / metabolism
  • Pons / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*
  • Tropanes*


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Tropanes
  • 2-carbomethoxy-8-(3-fluoropropyl)-3-(4-iodophenyl)tropane
  • Dopamine