Imaging of the dopaminergic neurotransmission system using single-photon emission tomography and positron emission tomography in patients with parkinsonism
Parkinsonism is a feature of a number of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy and progressive supranuclear palsy. The results of post-mortem studies point to dysfunction of the dopaminergic neurotransmitter system in patients with parkinsonism. Nowadays, by using single-photon emission tomography (SPET) and positron emission tomography (PET) it is possible to visualise both the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons and the striatal dopamine D2 receptors in vivo. Consequently, SPET and PET imaging of elements of the dopaminergic system can play an important role in the diagnosis of several parkinsonian syndromes. This review concentrates on findings of SPET and PET studies of the dopaminergic neurotransmitter system in various parkinsonian syndromes.
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