Dopamine transporter availability in motor subtypes of de novo drug-naïve Parkinson's disease

J Neurol. 2014 Nov;261(11):2112-8. doi: 10.1007/s00415-014-7459-8. Epub 2014 Aug 14.


Tremor dominant (TD) and akinetic-rigid type (ART) are two motor subtypes of Parkinson's disease associated with different disease progression and neurochemical/neuropathological features. The role of presynaptic nigrostriatal dopaminergic damage is still controversial, poorly explored, and only assessed in medicated patients. In this study, we investigated with FP-CIT SPECT the striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) availability in drug-naïve PD patients with ART and TD phenotypes. Fifty-one de novo, drug-naïve patients with PD underwent FP-CIT SPECT studies. Patients were evaluated with Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) part III and Hoehn and Yahr scale (H&Y) and divided into ART (24/51) and TD (27/51) according to UPDRS part III. ART and TD patients were not different with regard to age, gender, and disease duration. However, compared to TD, ART patients presented higher UPDRS part III (p = 0.01) and H&Y (p = 0.02) and lower DAT availability in affected and unaffected putamen (p = 0.008 and p = 0.007, respectively), whereas no differences were found in caudate. Moreover, in the whole group of patients, rigidity and bradykinesia, but not tremor scores of UPDRS part III were significantly related to FP-CIT binding in the putamen. These results suggest that in newly diagnosed drug-naïve PD patients DAT availability might be different between ART and TD in relation to different disease severity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Rigidity / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle Rigidity / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Putamen / diagnostic imaging*
  • Putamen / metabolism*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods


  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins