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Keywords:

  • Parkinson's disease;
  • Akinesia;
  • Motor fluctuations;
  • Positron emission tomography;
  • Regional cerebral metabolism;
  • [18F]Fluorodeoxyglucose

Abstract

The cerebral metabolic rate of glucose was measured in 14 Parkinson's disease patients with severe on-off fluctuations. Two positron emission tomography (PET) scans with [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose were performed, one after a challenge of subcutaneous apomorphine at a dose able to relieve akinesia within 15 min and the other with the vehicle. Apomorphine reduced glucose utilization by 4-6% in the lenticular nuclei and the occipital cortex and by 6-9% in the thalamic nuclei, but this effect was not statistically significant. Thus, central stimulation of dopamine receptors by apomorphine in advanced Parkinson's disease is not associated with cerebral methabolic changes as assessed by PET. Despite a dramatic improvement of the motor state, the global neuronal activity in the striatum and its downstream projections remains stable, suggesting an equilibrium between excitatory and inhibitory dopaminergic activities.