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Positron emission tomography in degenerative disorders of the dopaminergic system.

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  • 1Universitätsklinik für Neurologie, Köln, Federal Republic of Germany.


21 patients who had Parkinson's disease (PD), PD plus dementia of Alzheimer type (PDAT) or progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), were studied with positron emission tomography (PET) using (18F)-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG). In one patient with strictly unilateral PD side differences in striatal dopa uptake were studied with 6-(18F)fluoro-L-dopa (F-dopa). In patients with PD PET with FDG did not show any significant change in regional cerebral metabolic rates for glucose (rCMR(Glu)). In PDAT glucose metabolism was generally reduced, the most severe decrease was found in parietal cortex. The metabolic pattern was similar to that typically found in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). In the patient with strictly unilateral PD rCMR(Glu) was normal, F-dopa PET, however, revealed a distinct reduction of dopa uptake in the contralateral putamen. In PSP glucose metabolism was significantly decreased in subcortical regions (caudatum, putamen and brainstem) and in frontal cortex. Thus PET demonstrated a clear difference of metabolic pattern between PDAT and PSP.

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