A voxel-based PET study of dopamine transporters in Parkinson's disease: Relevance of age at onset

Andrea Panzacchi, Rosa Maria Moresco, Valentina Garibotto, Angelo Antonini, Clara Gobbo, Ioannis U. Isaias, Stefano Goldwurm, Lorena Bonaldi, Assunta Carpinelli, Gianni Pezzoli, Ferruccio Fazio, Daniela Perani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We used positron emission tomography (PET) and the dopamine transporter (DAT) ligand [11C]FECIT to measure loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in early phase of early onset (EOPD) and late onset Parkinson's disease (LOPD). The analysis was carried out with both regions of interest and voxelwise method (SPM2), at group and single subject levels. Genetic analysis tested for the mutations occurring most frequently in Caucasian population. A significant, bilateral, asymmetric DAT reduction was observed in both EOPD and LOPD. Noteworthy, the side and severity of DAT binding reduction significantly correlated with the severity and asymmetry of motor clinical scores. The two EOPD patients carrying mutations in the PARK2 and PARK6 genes, respectively, displayed the lowest values, bilaterally. This work demonstrates that severity of nigrostriatal damage in early disease phase of sporadic PD is not dependent on age at onset. Genetically determined PD is associated with more severe and widespread dopaminergic impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-109
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • Age at onset
  • Dopamine transporter
  • Genetics
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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