The effect of levodopa therapy on dopamine transporter SPECT imaging with 123I-FP-CIT in patients with Parkinson’s disease

  • Orazio Schillaci
  • Mariangela Pierantozzi
  • Luca Filippi
  • Carlo Manni
  • Livia Brusa
  • Roberta Danieli
  • Giorgio Bernardi
  • Giovanni Simonetti
  • Paolo Stanzione
Original Article



The aim of this study was to evaluate, by means of 123I-FP-CIT SPECT, the effect of chronic treatment with levodopa on striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) in patients with Parkinson’s disease.


Fifteen patients under stable levodopa/carbidopa monotherapy were imaged twice: at baseline on medication and after at least 20 days of treatment wash-out. DAT levels were assessed from SPECT imaging for the entire striatum, the right and left striatum, the right and left putamen and the right and left caudate, as a ratio of regional brain activities using the formula: (striatal region of interest−occipital)/occipital.


During levodopa wash-out, despite a worsening in patients’ clinical disability (H&Y mean stage 2.53±0.58 versus 1.73±0.45 on therapy, p<0.001), striatal 123I-FP-CIT levels were not significantly different from those at baseline in any of the brain regions examined.


The results of this study suggest that levodopa does not affect 123I-FP-CIT brain imaging and confirm that it is not necessary to withdraw this medication to measure DAT levels with SPECT.


Parkinson’s disease Dopamine transporter 123I-FP-CIT Levodopa SPECT 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Orazio Schillaci
    • 1
    • 4
  • Mariangela Pierantozzi
    • 2
    • 3
  • Luca Filippi
    • 1
  • Carlo Manni
    • 1
  • Livia Brusa
    • 2
    • 3
  • Roberta Danieli
    • 1
  • Giorgio Bernardi
    • 2
    • 3
  • Giovanni Simonetti
    • 1
  • Paolo Stanzione
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biopathology and Diagnostic ImagingUniversity Tor VergataRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Neurological SciencesUniversity Tor VergataRomeItaly
  3. 3.Santa Lucia Foundation I.R.C.C.S.RomeItaly
  4. 4.RomeItaly

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