Correlations between cerebrospinal fluid homovanillic acid and dopamine transporter SPECT in degenerative parkinsonian syndromes

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2023 Apr;130(4):513-520. doi: 10.1007/s00702-023-02611-y. Epub 2023 Mar 4.


Both cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) homovanillic acid (HVA) and striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) binding on single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) reflect nigrostriatal dopaminergic function, but studies on the relationship between the two have been limited. It is also unknown whether the reported variance in striatal DAT binding among diseases reflects the pathophysiology or characteristics of the subjects. We included 70 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), 12 with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), 12 with multiple system atrophy, six with corticobasal syndrome, and nine with Alzheimer's disease as disease control, who underwent both CSF analysis and 123I-N-ω-fluoropropyl-2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)nortropane (123I-ioflupane) SPECT. We evaluated the correlation between CSF HVA concentration and the specific binding ratio (SBR) of striatal DAT binding. We also compared the SBR for each diagnosis, controlling for CSF HVA concentration. The correlations between the two were significant in patients with PD (r = 0.34, p = 0.004) and PSP (r = 0.77, p = 0.004). The mean SBR value was the lowest in patients with PSP and was significantly lower in patients with PSP than in those with PD (p = 0.037) after adjusting for CSF HVA concentration. Our study demonstrates that striatal DAT binding correlates with CSF HVA concentration in both PD and PSP, and striatal DAT reduction would be more advanced in PSP than in PD at an equivalent dopamine level. Striatal DAT binding may correlate with dopamine levels in the brain. The pathophysiology of each diagnosis may explain this difference.

Keywords: Cerebrospinal fluid; Dopamine transporter; Homovanillic acid; Parkinson’s disease; Progressive supranuclear palsy; SPECT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Homovanillic Acid
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease*
  • Parkinsonian Disorders* / diagnostic imaging
  • Parkinsonian Disorders* / metabolism
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods


  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Iodine-123
  • Homovanillic Acid
  • Dopamine