Role of dopamine transporter imaging in investigation of parkinsonian syndromes in routine clinical practice

Mov Disord. 2003 Oct:18 Suppl 7:S16-21. doi: 10.1002/mds.10573.


We discuss the potential role of dopamine transporter (DAT) imaging by single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) as a biological marker for differentiating among parkinsonian disorders in routine clinical practice, and the implication for disease progression assessment is considered. Although clinical criteria enable accurate and reliable diagnosis of fully developed Parkinson's disease, there are several areas of diagnostic uncertainty relating to atypical parkinsonian disorders, isolated tremor symptoms not fulfilling essential tremor criteria, as well as drug-induced and psychogenetic parkinsonism. DAT-SPECT facilitates differential diagnosis of the different parkinsonian syndromes that cannot be reliably separated on clinical grounds and it can thus provide valuable diagnostic information in early disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Corpus Striatum / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / analysis*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Substantia Nigra / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*


  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • SLC6A3 protein, human