• Parkinson's disease;
  • Fluorodopa positron emission tomography;
  • disease progression;
  • aging;
  • gender



Rate of decline in 6-L-[18F]fluorodopa (FDOPA) uptake within the striatum has been reported as showing regional differences in Parkinson's disease (PD).


We acquired longitudinal brain FDOPA positron emission tomography (PET) studies in 26 PD subjects and 11 controls over 4.5 years. We analyzed both spatially normalized voxel-wise maps of radiotracer influx (Kocc) and average Kocc values for six non-overlapping volumes of interest (VOIs) encompassing the striatum.


The voxel-wise analysis showed that in PD, FDOPA Kocc decline spanned the striatum but was greatest in the posterior putamen ipsilateral and anterior putamen contralateral to initial symptoms. The VOI approached showed that absolute rates of Kocc decline were significantly greater in PD than control subjects, but that the slope of decline did not differ between subregions. In PD, ratios of uptake between subregions did not change during the study with the exception of the ipsilateral putamen/caudate ratio. Decline rates were marginally greater during earlier time segments. Both male gender and advancing age were associated with lower baseline FDOPA uptake, but no difference in decline rates. VOI Kocc values were significantly correlated with disease duration, but only moderately correlated with clinical measures.


We conclude that FDOPA uptake in subregions of the striatum is strongly correlated with disease duration and age, and declines approximately equally from symptom onset in PD. This implies that in idiopathic PD, relative preservation of uptake in the anterior striatum reflects a delay in pathologic involvement of nigrostriatal projections to this region. © 2011 Movement Disorder Society