Evidence for a dopaminergic deficit in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis on positron emission scanning

Lancet. 1993 Oct 23;342(8878):1016-8. doi: 10.1016/0140-6736(93)92878-w.


Although rare, the chronic neurodegenerative disorders amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and idiopathic parkinsonism coexist to a greater degree than expected by chance. This suggests that patients with ALS may have subclinical lesions of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway. To study this hypothesis, we did positron emission tomography with 6-fluorodopa on 16 patients with sporadic ALS and without extrapyramidal disease, and compared the results with age-matched controls. We found a significant progressive fall in 6-fluorodopa uptake with time since diagnosis, and reduced dopaminergic function in 3 patients with ALS of long duration. This supports the hypothesis that ALS and IP may share pathogenesis and, perhaps, aetiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / metabolism
  • Basal Ganglia / diagnostic imaging
  • Basal Ganglia / metabolism
  • Corpus Striatum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine / pharmacokinetics
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes* / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Receptors, Dopamine / deficiency*
  • Receptors, Dopamine / metabolism
  • Substantia Nigra / diagnostic imaging
  • Substantia Nigra / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • fluorodopa F 18
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine