A correct balance between endocannabinoid and dopamine-dependent systems is believed to underlie physiological motor control. We measured the levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide in the cerebrospinal fluid of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Subjects were divided into three groups: newly diagnosed de novo patients, subjects undergoing drug withdrawal, and patients under pharmacological therapy. These groups were compared to age-matched control subjects. Anandamide levels in untreated patients were more than doubled as compared to controls. However, chronic dopaminergic replacement restored control anandamide levels. Abnormal anandamide increase might reflect a compensatory mechanism occurring in course of PD, aimed at normalizing dopamine depletion.
(c) 2010 Movement Disorder Society.