Striatal dopaminergic function in restless legs syndrome: 18F-dopa and 11C-raclopride PET studies

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  • Nora Turjanski, Hammersmith Hospital
  • ,
  • A. J. Lees, MRC Prion Unit, Institute of Neurology
  • ,
  • D. J. Brooks

Objective: To use PET to study striatal dopaminergic function in restless legs syndrome (RLS). Background: RLS is a common disorder experienced by as much as 5% of the population. It has been suggested that this condition is associated with a disturbance of dopaminergic transmission. Methods: The authors measured nigrostriatal terminal dopamine storage with 18F-dopa and striatal D2 receptor binding with 11C-raclopride PET in 13 RLS patients, five of whom were receiving treatment with L-dopa at the time of scanning. RLS results were compared with those of age-matched control subjects. Results: Mean caudate and putamen 18F-dopa uptake were mildly reduced in the RLS patients compared with control subjects, and this reached significance (p = 0.04) in the putamen. Mean D2 binding was reduced in the caudate (p = 0.01) and the putamen (p = 0.008) in RLS patients compared with control subjects. Six of the 13 RLS patients had caudate and putamen D2 binding reduced below the control range. Three other RLS patients showed L- dopa-naive and L-dopa-treated RLS patients. Conclusions: These PET findings support the hypothesis of central dopaminergic dysfunction in RLS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)932-937
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes

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