EEG Frequency Correlates with α2-Receptor Density in Parkinson’s Disease

Adam F. Kemp, Martin Kinnerup, Birger Johnsen, Steen Jakobsen, Adjmal Nahimi, Albert Gjedde*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Introduction: Increased theta and delta power and decreased alpha and beta power, measured with quantitative electroencephalography (EEG), have been demonstrated to have utility for predicting the development of dementia in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Noradrenaline modulates cortical activity and optimizes cognitive processes. We claim that the loss of noradrenaline may explain cognitive impairment and the pathological slowing of EEG waves. Here, we test the relationship between the number of noradrenergic α2 adrenoceptors and changes in the spectral EEG ratio in patients with PD. Methods: We included nineteen patients with PD and thirteen healthy control (HC) subjects in the study. We used positron emission tomography (PET) with [11C]yohimbine to quantify α2 adrenoceptor density. We used EEG power in the delta (δ, 1.5–3.9 Hz), theta (θ, 4–7.9 Hz), alpha (α, 8–12.9 Hz) and beta (β, 13–30 Hz) bands in regression analyses to test the relationships between α2 adrenoceptor density and EEG band power. Results: PD patients had higher power in the theta and delta bands compared to the HC volunteers. Patients’ theta band power was inversely correlated with α2 adrenoceptor density in the frontal cortex. In the HC subjects, age was correlated with, and occipital background rhythm frequency (BRF) was inversely correlated with, α2 adrenoceptor density in the frontal cortex, while occipital BRF was inversely correlated with α2 adrenoceptor density in the thalamus. Conclusions: The findings support the claim that the loss or dysfunction of noradrenergic neurotransmission may relate to the parallel processes of cognitive decline and EEG slowing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number209
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • dementia
  • EEG
  • locus coeruleus
  • noradrenaline
  • Parkinson’s
  • α adrenoceptor


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