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Keywords:

  • GABA;
  • GABAA receptors;
  • dystonia;
  • sensorimotor cortex;
  • PET

Abstract

Background:

Preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that impaired gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) control, leading to disinhibition within the sensorimotor system, might play a role in dystonia. Aim of this study is the in vivo assessment of the GABAergic system in dystonia using positron emission tomography (PET) and 11C-flumazenil, a selective GABAA receptor ligand.

Methods:

Fourteen subjects with primary dystonia (9 carriers of the DYT1 mutation and 5 sporadic cases) were compared to 11 controls, using a simplified reference tissue model to measure binding potential.

Results:

Voxel-based analyses showed a reduction in GABAA receptor expression/affinity both in DYT1 carriers and sporadic patients in primary motor and premotor cortex, primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, and in the motor component of the cingulate gyrus.

Conclusions:

Dysfunction of GABAA receptors in sensorimotor systems in primary (genetic and sporadic) dystonia supports the view that lack of GABAergic control may be associated with the generation of dystonic movements. © 2011 Movement Disorder Society