Rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder and striatal dopamine depletion in patients with Parkinson's disease

Eur J Neurol. 2017 Oct;24(10):1314-1319. doi: 10.1111/ene.13388. Epub 2017 Aug 7.


Background and purpose: Rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) is related to striatal dopamine depletion. This study was performed to confirm whether clinically probable RBD (cpRBD) in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with a specific pattern of striatal dopamine depletion.

Methods: A prospective survey was conducted using the RBD Screening Questionnaire (RBDSQ) in 122 patients with PD who had undergone dopamine transporter (DAT) positron emission tomography scan.

Results: Patients with cpRBD (RBDSQ ≥ 7) exhibited greater motor deficits, predominantly in the less-affected side and axial symptoms, and were prescribed higher levodopa-equivalent doses at follow-up than those without cpRBD (RBDSQ ≤ 4), despite their similar disease and treatment durations. Compared to patients without cpRBD, those with cpRBD showed lower DAT activities in the putamen, particularly in the less-affected side in all putaminal subregions, and a tendency to be lower in the ventral striatum. In addition, greater motor deficits in patients with cpRBD than in those without cpRBD remained significant after controlling for DAT binding in the putamen and other confounding variables.

Conclusions: These results demonstrated that the presence of RBD in patients with PD is associated with different patterns of both motor deficit distribution and striatal DAT depletion, suggesting that the presence of RBD represents a distinct PD subtype with a malignant motor parkinsonism.

Keywords: Parkinson's disease; REM sleep behaviour disorder; dopamine; positron emission tomography; striatum.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Corpus Striatum / diagnostic imaging
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Prospective Studies
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder / complications*
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder / diagnostic imaging
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder / metabolism


  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Dopamine