Nathalie Van Den Berge

Asymmetric Dopaminergic Dysfunction in Brain-First versus Body-First Parkinson's Disease Subtypes

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BACKGROUND: We have hypothesized that Parkinson's disease (PD) comprises two subtypes. Brain-first, where pathogenic α-synuclein initially forms unilaterally in one hemisphere leading to asymmetric nigrostriatal degeneration, and body-first with initial enteric pathology, which spreads through overlapping vagal innervation leading to more symmetric brainstem involvement and hence more symmetric nigrostriatal degeneration. Isolated REM sleep behaviour disorder has been identified as a strong marker of the body-first type.

OBJECTIVE: To analyse striatal asymmetry in [18F]FDOPA PET and [123I]FP-CIT DaT SPECT data from iRBD patients, de novo PD patients with RBD (PD +RBD) and de novo PD patients without RBD (PD - RBD). These groups were defined as prodromal body-first, de novo body-first, and de novo brain-first, respectively.

METHODS: We included [18F]FDOPA PET scans from 21 iRBD patients, 11 de novo PD +RBD, 22 de novo PD - RBD, and 18 controls subjects. Also, [123I]FP-CIT DaT SPECT data from iRBD and de novo PD patients with unknown RBD status from the PPPMI dataset was analysed. Lowest putamen specific binding ratio and putamen asymmetry index (AI) was defined.

RESULTS: Nigrostriatal degeneration was significantly more symmetric in patients with RBD versus patients without RBD or with unknown RBD status in both FDOPA (p = 0.001) and DaT SPECT (p = 0.001) datasets.

CONCLUSION: iRBD subjects and de novo PD +RBD patients present with significantly more symmetric nigrostriatal dopaminergic degeneration compared to de novo PD - RBD patients. The results support the hypothesis that body-first PD is characterized by more symmetric distribution most likely due to more symmetric propagation of pathogenic α-synuclein compared to brain-first PD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Parkinson's Disease
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

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