Dopamine release from nigral transplants visualized in vivo in a Parkinson's patient

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Synaptic dopamine release from embryonic nigral transplants has been monitored in the striatum of a patient with Parkinson's disease using [11C]-raclopride positron emission tomography to measure dopamine D2 receptor occupancy by the endogenous transmitter. In this patient, who had received a transplant in the right putamen 10 years earlier, grafts had restored both basal and drug-induced dopamine release to normal levels. This was associated with sustained, marked clinical benefit and normalized levels of dopamine storage in the grafted putamen. Despite an ongoing disease process, grafted neurons can thus continue for a decade to store and release dopamine and give rise to substantial symptomatic relief.

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This study was supported by grants from the Swedish Medical Research Council, the European Union (Biomed 2 grant BMH4-CT95-0341), the UK Parkinson's Disease Society and the Kock, Wiberg, Söderberg and King Gustav V and Queen Victoria Foundations. We also thank J.B., whose participation made this study possible.

Author information


  1. MRC Cyclotron Unit, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK

    • Paola Piccini
    • , David J. Brooks
    • , Roger N. Gunn
    • , Paul M. Grasby
    •  & Ornella Rimoldi
  2. Section for Neurobiology, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden

    • Anders Björklund
  3. Section for Neuronal Survival, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden

    • Patrik Brundin
    •  & Håkan Widner
  4. Section of Restorative Neurology, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden

    • Peter Hagell
    •  & Olle Lindvall
  5. Division of Neurology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden

    • Peter Hagell
    • , Håkan Widner
    •  & Olle Lindvall
  6. Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden

    • Stig Rehncrona


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paola Piccini.