, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 111-115

Autonomic dysfunction in Machado-Joseph disease assessed by iodine123-labeled metaiodobenzylguanidine myocardial scintigraphy

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Abstract

Iodine123-labeled metaiodobenzylguanidine, a radioiodinated analogue of norepinephrine, is a tracer for evaluating sympathetic function. We used iodine123-labeled metaiodobenzylguanidine myocardial scintigraphy and sympathetic skin response to study autonomic nervous functions in 19 patients with Machado-Joseph disease (MJD) and 20 control subjects. Planar imaging of all the participants was done to evaluate myocardial scintigraphy. The ratio of average counts in the heart to average counts in the mediastinum was calculated for both early and delayed images, the latter of which reflects the cardiac neural uptake of the tracer. Single photon emission computed tomography also was done on 12 patients with MJD to examine regional tracer uptake to the heart. The mean ratio of counts in the heart to counts in the mediastinum in the delayed images was lower for the patients with MJD than for the control subjects (p <0.01). Abnormal sympathetic skin response was present in 6 patients with MJD whose mean ratio of counts in the heart to counts in the mediastinum was lower than that of patients with MJD who had normal sympathetic skin response (p <0.01). A single photon emission computed tomography study showed significantly lower accumulation of the tracer in patients with MJD than in the control subjects in the anterior lateral sectors predominantly innervated by sympathetic nerves but not in the inferior septal sectors reported to be under main innervation by parasympathetic fibers. These results show that MJD is accompanied by cardiac sympathetic dysfunction, as detected by iodine123-labeled metaiodobenzylguanidine myocardial scintigraphy, which appears to be correlated with sudomotor sympathetic dysfunction.