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Synapse. 2010 Aug;64(8):617-23. doi: 10.1002/syn.20769.

Influence of chronic bromocriptine and levodopa administration on cerebral type 1 cannabinoid receptor binding.

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  • 1Division of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. Cindy.Casteels@med.kuleuven.be



The endocannabinoid system is an important modulatory system in the brain. Complex interactions with brain dopaminergic circuits have been demonstrated. The aim of this study was to investigate the in vivo effect of the commonly used antiparkinsonian drugs, levodopa (L-DOPA) and bromocriptine, on type 1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptors, using the PET radioligand [(18)F]MK-9470.


Seventeen female Wistar rats were studied at baseline and after chronic exposure to either L-DOPA (6 mg/kg/day with 1.5 mg/kg/day carbidopa; n = 6), bromocriptine (4 mg/kg/day; n = 5), or saline (n = 6). [(18)F]MK-9470 binding was assessed in vivo using small animal PET imaging. [(18)F]MK-9470 parametric images were generated, anatomically standardized to Paxinos space and analyzed by voxel-based statistical parametric mapping (SPM2) and a predefined volume-of-interest (VOI) approach.


In a 2 x 2 analysis design (condition vs. treatment), no significant changes in absolute or relative [(18)F]MK-9470 binding were present upon chronic exposure to L-DOPA or bromocriptine as compared to saline treatment. The post hoc comparison of chronic scans to baseline within each treatment modality showed regional increases in relative [(18)F]MK-9470 binding in the thalamus (peak average value +6.3%) and in the sensorimotor cortex and hippocampus (peak average value +10.2%) after bromocriptine exposure, while no changes were found for L-DOPA.


Chronic administration of L-DOPA and bromocriptine at the applied doses does not produce major cerebral changes in in vivo cannabinoid CB1 receptor binding of [(18)F]MK-9470 in the rat brain. These results also suggest that similar chronic L-DOPA and bromocriptine usage is unlikely to interfere with human PET imaging in healthy conditions using this radioligand.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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