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Decreased noradrenaline transporter density in the motor cortex of Parkinson's disease patients

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David BrooksORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Background: Reduced noradrenaline levels have been reported to occur in the motor cortex of PD patients at post-mortem. Imaging techniques have recently become available to specifically study noradrenergic terminal function in vivo using PET. Methods: 30 PD patients and 12 healthy control subjects, comparable across age, sex, and cognitive performance underwent PET imaging with 11C-MeNER, a specific ligand of the noradrenaline transporter (NAT). Cortical NAT binding was compared at a voxel level using Statistical Parametric Mapping while cortical thickness was assessed using FreeSurfer software with MRI. Results: PD patients showed reduced 11C-MeNER binding in the primary motor cortex unrelated to cortical thickness; other cortical regions did not differ between groups. In a subgroup analysis, patients with higher Hoehn & Yahr stage exhibited more pronounced 11C-MeNER binding reductions. Conclusion: Loss of cortical noradrenergic projections to the primary motor cortex occurs in PD associated with disease stage.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sommerauer M, Hansen AK, Parbo P, Fedorova TD, Knudsen K, Frederiksen Y, Nahimi A, Brooks DJ, Borghammer P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Movement Disorders

Year: 2018

Volume: 33

Issue: 6

Pages: 1006-1010

Print publication date: 01/06/2018

Online publication date: 24/05/2018

Acceptance date: 13/03/2018

Date deposited: 22/03/2018

ISSN (print): 0885-3185

ISSN (electronic): 1531-8257

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/mds.27411


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