Positron emission tomography of dopamine pathways in familial Parkinsonian syndromes

P. K. Pal, Z. K. Wszolek, R. Uitti, K. Markopoulou, S. M. Calne, A. J. Stoessl, D. B. Calne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Positron emission tomography (PET) scan is considered to be the most useful tool with which to assess the integrity of nigrostriatal function in the living brain. Recently, different genetic defects have been associated with a variety of familial parkinsonian syndromes, the clinical phenotypes of which have varying degrees of similarities to idiopathic parkinsonism (IP), (sporadic Parkinson's disease). This review summarizes: (1) the PET scan findings (fluorodopa uptake and raclopride binding) in both familial parkinsonian syndromes and IP; and (2) the similarities and differences of the clinical and PET features between familial parkinsonian syndromes and IP. This analysis demonstrates that more similarities than differences exist in PET scan findings in the different familial parkinsonian syndromes with the exception of pallido-ponto-nigral degeneration (PPND), that is perhaps best considered as multisystem degeneration. As a result of this analysis, we believe that while different genetic defects may underlie different mechanisms of nigrostriatal degeneration, the final pattern of nigrostriatal dysfunction is essentially similar to that of IP. 'Parkinson's disease', therefore, may not represent a single disease entity, but rather the final manifestation of different pathogenetic mechanisms-mediated by genetic or environmental factors, or an interaction of genetic and environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-56
Number of pages6
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Familial
  • Genetic
  • PET
  • Parkinsonism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Positron emission tomography of dopamine pathways in familial Parkinsonian syndromes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this