Open Access Research article

Subregional 6-[18F]fluoro-ʟ-m-tyrosine Uptake in the Striatum in Parkinson's Disease

Sayaka Asari1*, Ken-ichi Fujimoto1, Akihiro Miyauchi2, Toshihiko Sato3, Imaharu Nakano1 and Shin-ichi Muramatsu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, Jichi Medical University, Tochigi, Japan

2 WebNet Technology, Tochigi, Japan

3 Utsunomiya Central Clinic, Tochigi, Japan

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BMC Neurology 2011, 11:35  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-35

Published: 23 March 2011



In idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) the clinical features are heterogeneous and include different predominant symptoms. The aim of the present study was to determine the relationship between subregional aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) activity in the striatum and the cardinal motor symptoms of PD using high-resolution positron emission tomography (PET) with an AADC tracer, 6-[18F]fluoro-ʟ-m-tyrosine (FMT).


We assessed 101 patients with PD and 19 healthy volunteers. PD was diagnosed based on the UK Brain Bank criteria by two experts on movement disorders. Motor symptoms were measured with the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). FMT uptake in the subregions of the striatum was analyzed using semi-automated software for region-of-interest demarcation on co-registered magnetic resonance images.


In all PD patients, FMT uptake was decreased in the posterior putamen regardless of predominant motor symptoms and disease duration. Smaller uptake values were found in the putamen contralateral to the side with more affected limbs. The severity of bradykinesia, rigidity, and axial symptoms was correlated with the decrease of FMT uptake in the putamen, particularly in the anterior part. No significant correlation was observed between tremors and FMT uptake.


Decrease of FMT uptake in the posterior putamen appears to be most sensitive in mild PD and uptake in the anterior putamen may reflect the severity of main motor symptoms, except for tremor.