[123I]beta-CIT SPECT demonstrates decreased brain dopamine and serotonin transporter levels in untreated parkinsonian patients

Mov Disord. 2001 Jan;16(1):124-30. doi: 10.1002/1531-8257(200101)16:1<124::aid-mds1007>3.0.co;2-r.


Striatal dopamine transporters (DATs) and serotonin transporters (SERTs) were evaluated in untreated patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and controls using single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) with 2beta-carboxymethoxy-3beta-(4-iodophenyl)tropane ([123I]beta-CIT). The striatal DAT specific to non-displaceable uptake ratios of 29, and the SERT uptake measurements of 27, PD patients were compared with those of 21 and 16 controls, respectively. The results were correlated with Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) scores, the Hoehn & Yahr stage, age, duration of the disease, and the major PD signs. The specific DAT binding in the caudate, the putamen and the caudate/putamen ratio were measured. In all of the PD patients the striatal uptake values were bilaterally reduced, being 36.9% (P < 0.001) lower than those of the controls. In the hemiparkinsonian patients the reduction was greater on the side contralateral to the initial symptoms (33.3% vs. 27.8%) and the uptake ratios indicated a more pronounced deficit in the putamen (39.1%) than in the caudate (27.9%). The DAT uptake correlated with the UPDRS total score and activities of daily living (ADL) and motor subscores, the Hoehn & Yahr stage, and rigidity score. PD patients had significantly higher caudate to putamen ratios than the controls. In the PD patients the SERT values were lower in the thalamic and frontal regions. The SERT uptake ratio of the frontal area correlated with the UPDRS subscore I. [123I]beta-CIT SPECT provides a useful method for confirming the clinical diagnosis of PD with correlation to disease severity. Additionally, this technique allows the simultaneous measurement of SERT uptake and shows that PD patients, interestingly, seem to have decreased SERT availability in the thalamic and frontal areas.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Caudate Nucleus / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Putamen / metabolism
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Thalamus / metabolism
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine