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Keywords:

  • Fluorodeoxyglucose;
  • Positron emission tomography;
  • Basal ganglia;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • Striatonigral degeneration

Abstract

We investigated, by positron emission tomography (PET) with [18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose (FDG) (FDG-PET), brain glucose metabolism in 19 patients with parkinsonian features. We compared local pattern of FDG uptake and asymmetry indexes in patients with therapeutic response to levodopa (L-dopa) (group 1, presumed Parkinson's disease, n = 9) and patients without L-dopa therapeutic response (group 2, presumed striatonigral degeneration, n = 10). Limb dystonia was present in 11% of patients in group 1 and in 40% of patients in group 2. Asymmetry in basal ganglia metabolism was distributed differently in the two groups (analysis of variance, p < 0.04). In superior and inferior putamen, superior and middle caudate, ventral striatum, and inferior thalamus, relative reduction in metabolism on the side contralateral to predominant parkinsonian signs was associated with L-dopa unresponsiveness. On the contrary, in middle caudate, ventral striatum, and inferior thalamus, a relative increase in metabolism on the side contralateral to the predominant side, parkinsonian signs were found in L-dopa-responsive patients. Our FDG-PET study using simple statistical procedures demonstrates inverse asymmetry of basal ganglia glucose metabolism in parkinsonian patients grouped on the sole basis of L-dopa responsiveness.