Molecular Imaging with PET in Parkinson´s diease
Parkinson´s disease (PD) is conventionally considered a neurodegenerative disorder affecting primarily the dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra. However, recent post-mortem and pre-clinical studies suggest that the primary site of pathology is at the level of the axonal terminals in the striatum rather than at the level of the nigral cell bodies. In addition, the dopaminergic system is not the only monoaminergic system affected in PD. Several studies have shown that the serotonin system is also affected. With the advantages of the high-resolution research tomograph (HRRT) we have conducted pilot studies in PD patients using different monoaminergic markers, the dopamine transporter, the serotonin transporter and the 5-HT1B receptors. These studies help understanding the pathophysiology of the monoaminergic deficits in PD and contribute to the development of novel imaging biomarkers for PD research.