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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2005 Sep 1;207(2 Suppl):251-6.

Insights into Parkinson's disease models and neurotoxicity using non-invasive imaging.

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McLean Hospital/Harvard University, Udall Parkinson's Disease Research Center of Excellence, McLean Hospital, 115 Mill Street, Belmont, MA 02478, USA.


Loss of dopamine in the nigrostriatal system causes a severe impairment in motor function in patients with Parkinson's disease and in experimental neurotoxic models of the disease. We have used non-invasive imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate in vivo the changes in the dopamine system in neurotoxic models of Parkinson's disease. In addition to classic neurotransmitter studies, in these models, it is also possible to characterize associated and perhaps pathogenic factors, such as the contribution of microglia activation and inflammatory responses to neuronal damage. Functional imaging techniques are instrumental to our understanding and modeling of disease mechanisms, which should in turn lead to development of new therapies for Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

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