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Neurosci Lett. 1999 Jan 29;260(2):77-80.

Relationships between striatal dopamine denervation and frontal executive tests in Parkinson's disease.

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INSERM U. 320, Cyceron, Services de Neurologie Vastel et Déjérine, CHU de Caen, France.


Indirect evidence from human and monkey investigations supports the idea that impaired frontal tasks in Parkinson's disease (PD) may result from striato-frontal disruption caused by dopamine (DA) denervation of the caudate nucleus. To directly investigate this hypothesis, we used PET with 11C-S-Nomifensine (11C-S-NMF), a sensitive marker of striatal DA denervation, in 10 non-demented PD patients in whom two frontal executive tests, the object alternation (OA) and the conditional associative learning (CAL) tasks, thought to reflect mainly set-shifting/inhibition and planning, respectively, were given. In addition, the central executive function of verbal working memory was assessed with the Brown Peterson paradigm (BPP). We found a highly significant correlation between right caudate 11C-S-NMF specific binding and OA performance, less significant and reverse-direction correlations between CAL performance and putamen 11C-S-NMF binding, and no significant correlation with BPP performance. Thus, caudate DA denervation may subtend poor set-shifting/inhibition process in PD. Our results also point to distinct and complex relationships between striatal DA and specific frontal tasks.

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