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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1999 Aug;67(2):189-94.

(123)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine myocardial scintigraphy in Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Neurology, 6- 25-1 Kami-Yoga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158, Japan.



(123)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) myocardial scintigraphy is clinically used to estimate local myocardial sympathetic nerve damage in some forms of heart disease, autonomic nerve disturbance in diabetic neuropathy, and disturbance of the autonomic nervous system in neurodegenerative disease. In the present study, examinations were performed to clarify (1) the proportion of cardiac sympathetic nerve disturbance in Parkinson's disease, (2) the usefulness of (123)I-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy to detect sympathetic nerve disturbances compared with autonomic function tests, (3) cardiac function in patients who have a decreased MIBG uptake in (123)I-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy, (4) the usefulness of (123)I-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy to differentiate Parkinson's disease from the other neurological diseases mimicking it.


(123)I-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy was performed, together with autonomic function tests and cardiac examinations in 46 patients with Parkinson's disease and 25 patients with vascular parkinsonism, essential tremor, or multiple system atrophy.


In an anterior image study, the average count per pixel in heart to mediastinum (H/M) ratio decreased in 80% of the patients with Parkinson's disease in the early phase and 84% in the late phase. The mean H/M ratio in Parkinson's disease was significantly lower than that in controls and the other diseases. The H/M ratio tended to decrease with the disease progression. In almost half of the patients in Hoehn and Yahr stage I, the H/M ratio was already decreased. The sympathetic skin response in upper and lower limbs, head up tilt test, and coefficient of variation of R-R interval were abnormal in 17%, 31%, 30%, and 17% of the patients, respectively. All the patients with abnormal autonomic functions were in Hoehn and Yahr stage III, IV, or V. Echocardiography showed normal left ventricular function. Twenty four hour Holter electrocardiography detected no serious arrhythmias except for one patient with non-sustained ventricular tachycardia.


(123)I-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy might detect early disturbances of the sympathetic nervous system in Parkinson's disease and might give useful diagnostic information to differentiate vascular parkinsonism, essential tremor, and multiple system atrophy from Parkinson's disease.

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