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J Nucl Med. 1997 Jan;38(1):1-6.

Imaging of dopamine transporters with iodine-123-beta-CIT and SPECT in Parkinson's disease.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Vienna, Austria.


The aim of the present study was to demonstrate the degeneration of the dopaminergic nigrostriatal pathway in Parkinson's disease by using the cocaine derivative [123I]beta-CIT (2-beta-carbomethoxy-3-beta(4-iodophenyl)-tropane or RTI-55) and SPECT and to relate the findings to the severity of the disease (Hoehn and Yahr scale, H/Y) and to clinical data such as motor score and activities of daily living.


Thirteen volunteers and 47 patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) of H/Y Stage I-V (I:n = 16, II:n = 6, III:n = 14, IV:n = 9, V:n = 2) were investigated. Acquisitions were performed 2, 4, 16, 20 and 24 hr postinjection. ROIs were drawn over the striatum and the cerebellum. Specific beta-CIT binding was defined as striatal minus cerebellar binding. The ratio of specific over nondisplaceable binding (striatum/cerebellum-1) was determined as well as the percent deviation of this ratio from age-expected control values.


The time-activity curve of striatal [123I]beta-CIT binding demonstrated a maximum around 20 hr postinjection in controls and a peak 4 hr postinjection in PD patients. Ratios differed significantly between the two groups. A significant correlation existed between this ratio and clinical measures. Hemiparkinsonian patients revealed significantly diminished [123I]beta-CIT binding not only contralateral to the clinically affected but also contralateral to the clinically unaffected side. [123I]beta-CIT binding showed a significant decrease in comparison to age-expected values ranging from 36% in H/Y stage 1 to 71% in H/Y stage V.


The present study demonstrates that it is possible to visualize and quantify the degeneration of dopaminergic nigrostriatal neurons in PD using [123I]beta-CIT and SPECT with good correlation to clinical parameters.

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