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Dopamine and vesicular monoamine transport loss supports incidental Lewy body disease as preclinical idiopathic Parkinson

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Johannes Attems



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023, The Author(s). Incidental Lewy body disease (ILBD) is a neuropathological diagnosis of brains with Lewy bodies without clinical neuropsychiatric symptoms. Dopaminergic deficits suggest a relationship to preclinical Parkinson’s disease (PD). We now report a subregional pattern of striatal dopamine loss in ILBD cases, with dopamine found significantly decreased in the putamen (−52%) and only to a lower extent in the caudate (−38%, not statistically significant); this is similar to the pattern in idiopathic PD in various neurochemical and in vivo imaging studies. We aimed to find out if our recently reported impaired storage of dopamine in striatal synaptic vesicles prepared from striatal tissue of cases with idiopathic PD might be an early or even causative event. We undertook parallel measurements of [3H]dopamine uptake and vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT)2 binding sites by the specific label [3H]dihydrotetrabenazine on vesicular preparation from caudate and putamen in ILBD. Neither specific uptake of dopamine and binding of [3H]dihydrotetrabenazine, nor mean values of the calculated ratios of dopamine uptake and VMAT2 binding, a measure of uptake rate per transport site, were significantly different between ILBD and controls. ATP-dependence of [3H]dopamine uptake revealed significantly higher rates in putamen than in caudate at saturating concentrations of ATP in controls, a subregional difference lost in ILBD. Our findings support a loss of the normally higher VMAT2 activity in putamen as a contributing factor to the higher susceptibility of the putamen to dopamine depletion in idiopathic PD. Moreover, we suggest ILBD postmortem tissue as a valuable source for testing hypotheses on processes in idiopathic PD.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pifl C, Reither H, Attems J, Zecca L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: npj Parkinson's Disease

Year: 2023

Volume: 9

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 15/06/2023

Acceptance date: 27/04/2023

Date deposited: 03/07/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2373-8057

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1038/s41531-023-00514-z


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Funder referenceFunder name
Brains for Dementia Research
Grigioni Foundation for Parkinson's Disease