New developments of dopaminergic imaging in Parkinson's disease

Q J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2012 Feb;56(1):68-82.


The development of radioligands for the dopaminergic system has provided suitable imaging biomarkers for clinical research in Parkinson's disease (PD) and related movement disorders. Single photon emission tomography (SPECT) has played an important role as main molecular imaging modality because of the availability of imaging tools such as dopamine transporter (DAT) radioligands for wide clinical use. At present, SPECT imaging of the DAT is the main diagnostic imaging procedure for the assessment of patients with parkinsonism. However, in the recent years positron emission tomography (PET) has become an important clinical diagnostic modality, mainly in oncology, due to the wide availability of PET/CT systems with improved imaging performance and to the use of 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose ([18F]FDG) as main diagnostic agent. In this context, further development of 18F-radioligands is of high interest for their potential utility in the clinical setting. This review will give a general overview on the development of SPECT and PET radioligands for the dopaminergic system and describe the potential advantages of developing 18F-labelled radioligands for imaging of the dopaminergic system in PD and related movement disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / analysis*
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / analysis
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon


  • Biomarkers
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18