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A follow-up study on 6-[18F]fluoro-L-dopa uptake in early Parkinson's disease shows nonlinear progression in the putamen


  • Potential conflict of interest: No conflicts of interest.


Sixteen subjects with de novo Parkinson's disease (PD) underwent three 6-[18F]fluoro-L-dopa (Fdopa) positron emission tomography (PET) scans during a follow-up time of 5 years (mean ± SD 5.5 ± 0.4 years) to study the progression of striatal dopaminergic hypofunction. Throughout the study, the smallest Fdopa uptake values were found in the dorso-caudal part of the putamen contralateral to the side with dominant motor symptoms. The rate of decline in Fdopa uptake in the contralateral putamen was faster in the beginning of the disease and slowed down as the disease progressed. The annual decline in Fdopa influx constant (Ki, unit × 10−3 min−1) was on average 0.5 during the first 2 years and 0.2 during the subsequent 3 years (P = 0.002) in the contralateral putamen. In caudate, the rate of decline in Fdopa values was slower than in the putamen and did not change significantly during the follow-up time, annual decline in the contralateral caudate being 0.1 between baseline and 2 years and 0.3 between 2 and 5 years (P = 0.4). These results suggest that progression of putaminal dopaminergic hypofuncion in PD follows a nonlinear pattern at least in the contralateral side being faster in the beginning of the disease. © 2009 Movement Disorder Society