Background: Striatal dopamine deficits play a key role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD), and several non-motor symptoms (NMSs) have a dopaminergic component. Objective: To investigate the association between early NMS burden and the patterns of striatal dopamine depletion in patients with de novo PD. Methods: We consecutively recruited 255 patients with drug-naïve early-stage PD who underwent 18F-FP-CIT PET scans. The NMS burden of each patient was assessed using the NMS Questionnaire (NMSQuest), and patients were divided into the mild NMS burden (PDNMS-mild) (NMSQuest score <6; n=91) and severe NMS burden groups (PDNMS-severe) (NMSQuest score >9; n=90). We compared the striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) activity between the groups. Results: Patients in the PDNMS-severe group had more severe parkinsonian motor signs than those in the PDNMS-mild group, despite comparable DAT activity in the posterior putamen. DAT activity was more severely depleted in the PDNMS-severe group in the caudate and anterior putamen compared to that in the PDMNS-mild group. The inter-sub-regional ratio of the associative/limbic striatum to the sensorimotor striatum was lower in the PDNMS-severe group, although this value itself lacked fair accuracy for distinguishing between the patients with different NMS burdens. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that PD patients with severe NMS burden exhibited severe motor deficits and relatively diffuse dopamine depletion throughout the striatum. These findings suggest that the level of NMS burden could be associated with distinct patterns of striatal dopamine depletion, which could possibly indicate the overall pathological burden in PD.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience