Myocardial sympathetic degeneration correlates with clinical phenotype of Parkinson's disease

Mov Disord. 2007 May 15;22(7):1004-8. doi: 10.1002/mds.21499.


In idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD), different clinical subtypes are distinguished due to predominant motor symptoms: a tremor-dominant type (TDT), an akinetic rigid type (ART), and a mixed type (MT). We compared myocardial sympathetic innervation, measured by MIBG scintigraphy, in different subtypes of PD at early and advanced stages of PD. We applied MIBG scintigraphy in 102 patients with PD. About 57 patients were at Hoehn and Yahr (H&Y) stage 1, 22 at H&Y stage 2, and 23 at H&Y stages 3 and 4. For quantification of myocardial MIBG uptake, the heart-to-mediastinum (H/M) count-ratio was calculated. At all H&Y stages, myocardial MIBG uptake was significantly higher in TDT patients than in ART or MT patients (P < 0.05; ANOVA). Furthermore, at each H&Y stage, myocardial MIBG uptake correlated significantly with severity of hypokinesia (P < 0.05; Spearman's correlation) and rigidity (P < 0.05), but not with severity of resting or postural tremor. The significant correlation between myocardial sympathetic degeneration and severity of hypokinesia and rigidity suggests that myocardial sympathetic degeneration and hypokinetic-rigid symptoms develop in a closely coupled manner in early as well as advanced PD. No such correlation can be found between myocardial sympathetic degeneration and parkinsonian tremor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / pathology*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / pharmacokinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Phenotype*
  • Radionuclide Imaging / methods
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Iodine Radioisotopes