Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 105, Issue 10, pp 1213-1228

First online:

[123I]β-CIT and SPECT in essential tremor and Parkinson's disease

  • S. AsenbaumAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology and
  • , W. PirkerAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology and
  • , P. AngelbergerAffiliated withForschungszentrum Seibersdorf, Seibersdorf, Austria
  • , G. BencsitsAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology and
  • , M. PruckmayerAffiliated withDepartment of Nuclear Medicine, University of Vienna, Vienna, and
  • , T. BrückeAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology and

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Resting and postural tremor may occur in essential tremor (ET) and Parkinson's disease (PD). The aim of the present study was to investigate the cocaine derivative [123I]β-CIT, which labels striatal dopamine transporters, and SPECT in differentiating these diseases.

Methods: 30 healthy volunteers, 32 patients with ET and 29 patients with idiopathic PD of Hoehn/Yahr stage I were investigated. Specific over nondisplaceable binding ratios (target/cerebellum-1) were calculated for the striatum, the caudate nucleus and the putamen separately as well as a ratio putamen/caudate and the percent deviation of each patient's ratio from age-expected control values.

Results: Striatal [123I]β-CIT binding ratios in ET were within normal ranges and showed only a discrete elevation to age-expected control values (+14.6%). In PD significantly reduced specific binding was evident not only contralaterally to the clinically affected side (putamen: −62%, caudate nucleus: −35%), but also ipsilaterally (putamen: −45%, caudate nucleus: −22%). All investigated parameters differed significantly between PD and controls and ET respectively.

Conclusion: Imaging striatal dopamine transporters with [123I]β-CIT and SPECT could clearly distinguish between ET and PD in an early stage of the disease. Findings do not suggest a subclinical involvement of dopaminergic nigrostriatal neurons in ET.

Keywords: [123I]β-CIT SPECT essential tremor Parkinson's disease.