FMRI and insights into degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra in Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease PD results in motor, cognitive, sensory and affective deficits that lead to movement impairment. The mechanism is a degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. Dr. van der Vegt JP et al Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospital Denmark present in Brain, 04/04/2013 present evidence that suggests that these deficits are not due to the contaminating effect of dopaminergic treatment. The team do this by testing drug-naive patients with Parkinson’s disease who underwent whole-brain functional magnetic resonance imaging. They show that the core regions of the meso–cortico–limbic dopaminergic system, including the ventral tegmental area, ventral striatum, and medial orbitofrontal cortex, are already significantly compromised in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease PD.

 

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