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Increased 5-HT2A receptors in the temporal cortex of parkinsonian patients with visual hallucinations

Authors

  • Philippe Huot MD, MSc, FRCPC, DABPN,

    1. Division of Brain Imaging & Behaviour Systems - Neuroscience, Toronto Western Research Institute,Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Movement Disorders Clinic, University of Toronto, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Tom H. Johnston PhD,

    1. Division of Brain Imaging & Behaviour Systems - Neuroscience, Toronto Western Research Institute,Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Tayyeba Darr BSc,

    1. Division of Brain Imaging & Behaviour Systems - Neuroscience, Toronto Western Research Institute,Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Lili-Naz Hazrati MD, PhD, FRCPC,

    1. Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Naomi P. Visanji PhD,

    1. Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Donna Pires RVT,

    1. Division of Brain Imaging & Behaviour Systems - Neuroscience, Toronto Western Research Institute,Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Jonathan M. Brotchie PhD,

    1. Division of Brain Imaging & Behaviour Systems - Neuroscience, Toronto Western Research Institute,Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Susan H. Fox MRCP(UK), PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Brain Imaging & Behaviour Systems - Neuroscience, Toronto Western Research Institute,Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Movement Disorders Clinic, University of Toronto, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Movement Disorder Clinic, MCL7.421, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 2S8

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  • Potential conflict of interest: None reported.

Abstract

Well-formed visual hallucinations (VH) are common in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). The pathophysiology of VH in PD is unknown but may involve structures mediating visual processing such as the inferior temporal cortex. Serotonergic type 2A (5-HT2A) receptors have been linked to many psychiatric disorders, including psychosis. We hypothesized that enhanced 5-HT2A receptor levels may be involved in VH in PD. Autoradiographic binding using [3H]-ketanserin and spiperone, to define 5-HT2A receptors, was performed in 6 PD patients with VH, 6 PD patients without VH, and 5 healthy, age-matched controls. The cerebral regions studied included the orbitofrontal cortex, inferolateral temporal cortex, motor cortex, striatum, and substantia nigra. There was a significant (45.6%) increase in the levels of [3H]-ketanserin binding in the inferolateral temporal cortex of PD patients with VH when compared with PD patients without VH (54.3 ± 5.2 fmol/mg vs. 37.3 ± 4.3 fmol/mg, P = 0.039). Additionally, there was a significant increase in the levels of 5-HT2A receptors in the motor cortex of all PD patients taken as a group when compared with controls (57.8 ± 5.7 fmol/mg vs. 41.2 ± 2.6 fmol/mg, P = 0.0297). These results suggest that enhanced 5-HT2A-mediated neurotransmission in the inferolateral temporal cortex, a critical structure in visual processing, might be associated with the development of VH in PD. Our results provide new insights into the pathophysiology of VH in PD and provide an anatomical basis to explain why compounds with 5-HT2A antagonist activity are effective at alleviating this debilitating complication. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society

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