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Molecular Imaging of the Dopaminergic System in Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Review of Neurobiology
Pages 131-172
E-pub ahead of print6 Sep 2018

Publication series

NameInternational Review of Neurobiology
ISSN (Print)0074-7742

King's Authors


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the degeneration of dopaminergic nigrostriatal connections which is recognized as the major pathophysiological event underlying the onset of motor symptoms. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) imaging allow the study of these connections in vivo at a molecular level. Several radiotracers have been developed targeting the synthesis and metabolism of dopamine and dopaminergic receptors to investigate the nigrostriatal pathway in vivo. Molecular imaging has greatly increased our knowledge on the progression and natural history of PD, as well as the development of motor and non-motor symptoms. PET molecular imaging could be a reliable biomarker to aid earlier diagnosis and for monitoring disease progression. Furthermore, PET imaging could be used as outcome measure in the design of clinical trials testing novel pharmacological compounds aiming to slow, and ultimately halt, disease progression.

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