Thirty Parkinson's disease (PD) patients were divided into three equal groups according to their disease duration while 10 normal healthy volunteers matched for age and sex served as a control group. Striatal and extrastriatal serotonergic function was studied with (11)C-DASB PET, a marker of serotonin transporter availability. (11)C-DASB binding was correlated with disease disability and exposure to dopaminergic therapy. We found significant (11)C-DASB binding reductions in striatal, brainstem, and cortical regions in PD but no correlations were evident between (11)C-DASB binding and UPDRS scores, Hoehn &Yahr staging, disease duration and level of exposure to dopaminergic therapy. Our results suggest that progressive non-linear serotonergic dysfunction occurs in PD but it does not determine levels of disability. Additionally, chronic exposure to dopaminergic therapy does not appear to influence SERT binding.
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