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Minerva Psichiatrica 2009 March;50(1):55-78

language: English

Positron emission tomography imaging in Parkinson’s disease

Politis M., Wu K., Piccini P.

Division of Clinical Neurosciences MRC Clinical Sciences Centre Faculty of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital Imperial College London, London, UK


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Positron emission tomography (PET) neuroimaging techniques provide a useful tool for understanding the complex functional anatomy of the basal ganglia and their disorders. They help to elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the degenerative processes and the evolution of symptoms in Parkinson’s disease (PD). In this review, the potential role of PET imaging on evaluating the dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic function in PD is discussed along with its use as a biological marker in the differential diagnosis of typical and atypical parkinsonism, in monitoring disease’s progression, and in understanding the mechanisms underlying motor fluctuations, drug induced dyskinesias and non-motor symptoms. The role of functional imaging in assessing the efficacy of neuroprotective and restorative strategies, is also discussed. It is concluded that, in the future, if technical and cost limitations are adequately addressed, PET imaging may well provide a valuable adjunct to clinical assessment when evaluating the complications and management of PD.

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