Striatal dopamine transporter abnormalities in patients with essential tremor

Nucl Med Commun. 2008 Apr;29(4):349-53. doi: 10.1097/MNM.0b013e3282f4d307.


Background and methods: We used (123)I-Ioflupane SPECT to study 32 unrelated patients with essential tremor (16 with positive familial history), 47 sporadic tremor dominant patients with Parkinson's disease and 31 healthy control subjects. Discriminant analysis was used to categorize healthy subjects and patients with Parkinson's disease or essential tremor.

Results: Patients with essential tremor had higher uptake values (50% putamen and 21% caudate, P<0.001) compared to those with Parkinson's disease but lower than healthy subjects (15% putamen and 21% caudate, P<0.05). Discriminant analysis classified seven essential tremor patients in the healthy subjects cohort (22%) and two as Parkinson's disease (6%).

Conclusions: Our results show that some essential tremor patients may present mild abnormalities of striatal dopamine transporters and a typical Parkinson's disease-like pattern of uptake loss. These findings suggest a link between the two disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Corpus Striatum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Essential Tremor / complications
  • Essential Tremor / diagnostic imaging*
  • Essential Tremor / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / pharmacokinetics
  • Male
  • Nortropanes / pharmacokinetics
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods


  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Nortropanes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • ioflupane