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Abstract

D2 dopamine receptor densities were measured in postmortem samples of the caudate nucleus and putamen from 36 parkinsonian patients. The relationship between the age of the patient, duration of the disease, and duration of L-dopa therapy versus density of brain D2 dopamine receptors was examined using [3H]spiperone. Receptor density in parkinsonian tissues was constant over the age range of 56 to 90 years, as was the case for control tissues. Density did not change with duration of disease up to 24 years. Treatment with L-dopa did not cause progressive reduction in receptor density. The diminished clinical response in the final stages of Parkinson's disease is not due to receptor dropout, and must depend on other factors.