Higher dopamine transporter density in Parkinson’s disease patients with depression
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Depression is a frequent non-motor symptom in Parkinson’s disease (PD) with increasing rates with the progression of the disease. Molecular imaging studies have shown a reduction of dopamine transporter (DAT) density in depressed PD patients (dPD); however, DAT role in the pathophysiology of PD depression is not clear since clinical matching was inappropriate and DAT reduction could be attributed to PD severity.
To further examine the role of DAT in PD depression, this study compared thoroughly matched depressed vs. non-depressed PD patients (ndPD).
Materials and methods
Twenty PD patients (n = 10 ndPD; n = 10 dPD) matched for age and disease severity were submitted to brain SPECT imaging with [99mTc]-TRODAT-1, a DAT radioligand. DAT-binding potential was calculated using regions of interest bilaterally drawn in the striatum, caudate, and putamen. Depression was defined according to Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; cut-off >18).
Mean BDI scores were higher in dPD (25.0 ± 5.6) than in ndPD patients (8.0 ± 1.9, p < 0.0001). DAT density was greater on dPD especially in the left caudate (dPD 0.87 ± 0.19 vs. ndDP 0.69 ± 0.18, p = 0.02) and right putamen (dPD 0.37 ± 0.07 vs. ndPD 0.28 ± 0.13, p = 0.03) than in ndPD patients.
Our results suggest that in vivo DAT density is increased in dPD patients as compared to ndPD, suggesting that DAT is implicated in the pathophysiology of PD depression.
KeywordsParkinson’s disease (PD) Depression SPECT Dopamine transporter
Supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) and the Fondation Philanthropique Edmond J. Safra. Dr. Andre C. Felicio is supported by a scholarship doctorate grant from FAPESP and Dr. Tais S. Moriyama is supported by scholarships from Instituto UNIEMP.
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