Brain Imaging and Behavior (in press)
Although [18F]fluoro-L-dopa [FDOPA] positron emission tomography (PET) has been used as a surrogate outcome measure in Parkinson’s disease therapeutic trials, this biomarker has not been proven to reflect clinical status longitudinally. We completed a retrospective analysis of relationships between computerized sampling of motor performance, FDOPA PET, and clinical outcome scales, repeated over 4 years, in 26 Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients and 11 healthy controls. Mixed effects analyses showed that movement time and tongue strength best differentiated PD from control subjects. In the treated PD cohort, motor performance measures changed gradually in contrast to a steady decline in striatal FDOPA uptake. Prolonged reaction and movement time were related to lower caudate nucleus FDOPA uptake, and abnormalities in hand fine force control were related to mean striatal FDOPA uptake. These findings provide evidence that regional loss of nigrostriatal inputs to frontostriatal networks affects specific aspects of motor function.