PET Molecular Imaging of Phosphodiesterase 10A: An Early Biomarker of Huntington's Disease Progression

Mov Disord. 2020 Apr;35(4):606-615. doi: 10.1002/mds.27963. Epub 2020 Jan 22.


Background: Changes in phosphodiesterase 10A enzyme levels may be a suitable biomarker of disease progression in Huntington's disease.

Objectives: To evaluate phosphodiesterase 10A PET imaging as a biomarker of HD progression using the radioligand, [18 F]MNI-659.

Methods: The cross-sectional study (NCT02061722) included 45 Huntington's disease gene-expansion carriers stratified into four disease stages (early and late premanifest and Huntington's disease stages 1 and 2) and 45 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. The primary analysis compared striatal and pallidal phosphodiesterase 10A availability between Huntington's disease gene-expansion carriers and healthy controls as assessed by [18 F]MNI-659 binding. We assessed changes in phosphodiesterase 10A expression using several PET methodologies and compared with previously proposed measures of Huntington's disease progression (PET imaging of D2/3 receptors and anatomical volume loss on MRI). The longitudinal follow-up study (NCT02956148) continued evaluation of phosphodiesterase 10A availability in 35 Huntington's disease gene-expansion carriers at a mean of 18 months from baseline of the cross-sectional study.

Results: Primary analyses revealed that phosphodiesterase 10A availability in caudate, putamen, and globus pallidus was significantly lower in Huntington's disease gene-expansion carriers versus healthy controls across all stages. Striatal and pallidal phosphodiesterase 10A availability progressively declined in the premanifest stages and appeared to plateau between stages 1 and 2. The percentage decline of phosphodiesterase 10A availability measured cross-sectionally between Huntington's disease gene-expansion carriers and healthy controls was greater than that demonstrated by D2/3 receptor availability or volumetric changes. Annualized rates of phosphodiesterase 10A change showed a statistically significant decline between the cross-sectional study and follow-up.

Conclusions: [18 F]MNI-659 PET imaging is a biologically plausible biomarker of Huntington's disease progression that is more sensitive than the dopamine-receptor and volumetric methods currently used. © 2020 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

Keywords: Huntington's disease; PDE10A; biomarker; imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Huntington Disease* / genetics
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / genetics
  • Positron-Emission Tomography


  • Biomarkers
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases