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The serotonergic system in Parkinson’s patients with dyskinesia: evidence from imaging studies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996)
Early online date20 Dec 2017
StateE-pub ahead of print - 20 Dec 2017

King's Authors


The purpose of review is to review the current status of positron emission tomography (PET) molecular imaging of serotonergic system in Parkinson’s patients who experience levodopa-induced (LIDs) and graft-induced dyskinesias (GIDs). PET imaging studies have shown that Parkinson’s disease is characterized by progressive loss of dopaminergic and serotonergic neurons. Parkinson’s patients who experienced LIDs and GIDs have an aberrant spreading of serotonergic terminals, which lead to an increased serotonergic/dopaminergic terminals ratio within the putamen. Serotonergic terminals convert exogenous levodopa into dopamine in a non-physiological manner and release an abnormal amount of dopamine without an auto-regulatory feedback. This results in higher swings in synaptic levels of dopamine, which leads to the development of LIDs and GIDs. The modulation of serotonergic terminals with 5-HT1A and 5-HT1B receptors agonists partially reduced these motor complications. In vivo PET studies confirmed that abnormal spreading of serotonergic terminals within the putamen has a pivotal role in the development of LIDs and GIDs. However, glutamatergic, adenosinergic, opioid systems, and phosphodiesterases 10A may also play a role in the development of these motor complications. An integrative multimodal imaging approach combining PET and MRI imaging techniques is needed to fully understand the mechanisms underlying the development of LIDs and GIDs.

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