Severity of neuropsychiatric symptoms and dopamine transporter levels in dementia with Lewy bodies: A 123I-FP-CIT SPECT study


  • Potential conflict of interest: The authors declare to have no actual or potential conflict of interest. All procedures were approved by the local ethical committee, and every subject signed the informed consent before the SPECT procedure. F.R. and G.D. take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.


Neuropsychiatric symptoms are frequent in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Dopamine transporter (DAT) imaging with 123I-labeled ligand N-δ-(fluoropropyl)-2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)tropene (123I-FP-CIT), which reliably measures midbrain dopaminergic dysfunction, has provided important evidence on the neurobiological substrate of some of these symptoms including apathy and depression. However, little is known on DAT levels and other distressing symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. Therefore, 123I-FP-CIT imaging was performed in 18 well-characterized patients with DLB, and striatal DAT levels were correlated with the frequency/severity ratings of several neuropsychiatric symptoms. A wide range of neuropsychiatric symptoms could be observed in the sample. Significant correlations were observed between decreased striatal DAT levels and visual hallucinations. Although there were no correlations between striatal DAT levels and other neuropsychiatric symptoms, when considering the putamen and the caudate nucleus separately, delusions, depression, and apathy were inversely correlated to decreased caudate DAT levels. Theseresults provide intriguing evidence on the involvement of the mesocortical dopaminergic pathways in neuropsychiatric symptoms in DLB. © 2009 Movement Disorder Society