Equilibrium striatal: cerebellar 11C‐raclopride (RAC) uptake ratios reflect the density of striatal dopamine D2 binding sites. Using positron emission tomographic scanning we have measured striatal RAC uptake in 6 untreated patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), 5 chronically treated patients with PD and a fluctuating response to L‐dopa, 10 patients with striatonigral degeneration (SND), and 9 patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Regional cerebral blood flow was determined also, with C15O2. Mean strital: cerebellar RAC uptake was not significantly different from normal in untreated patients with PD, though 2 of these 6 patients showed significantly increased putamen tracer binding. Mean caudate and putamen: cerebellar RAC uptake ratios of the group with PD and fluctuating response to L‐dopa were significantly reduced by 30% and 18%, respectively. The patients with SND had lesser, but significant, 10% and 11% decreases in mean caudate and putamen: cerebellar RAC uptake ratios, respectively, whereas patients with PSP showed 24% and 9% reductions in caudate and putamen: cerebellar RAC binding. Striatal and frontal blood flow were significantly reduced in patients with PSP, but not in patients with PD or SND. In conclusion, striatal D2 binding potential is normal or raised in untreated patients with PD, but reduced in patients with PD and a fluctuating response to L‐dopa. Patients with SND and PSP show a decrease in striatal RAC binding, but to a lesser extent than patients with PD and a fluctuating response to treatment. Failure of patients with SND and PSP to respond well to L‐dopa cannot therefore be due to losss of striatal D2 sites alone, but must reflect loss of other basal ganglia connections.
Annals of Neurology – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 1992
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