Objective: Dopamine D2-like receptors – mainly dopamine D2 receptors (D2R) and dopamine D3 receptors (D3R) – are believed to be greatly involved in the pathology of Parkinson disease (PD) progression. However, these receptors have not been precisely examined in PD patients. Our aim was to quantitatively calculate the exact densities of dopamine D1 receptors (D1R), D2R, and D3R in control, Alzheimer disease (AD), and Lewy body disease (LBD) patients (including PD, Dementia with Lewy bodies, and Parkinson disease dementia); and analyze the relationship between dopamine receptors and clinical PD manifestations. Methods: We analyzed the densities of D1R, D2R, and D3R in the striatum and substantia nigra (SN) using a novel quantitative autoradiography procedure previously developed by our group. We also examined the expression of D2R and D3R mRNA in the striatum by in situ hybridization. Results: The results showed that although no differences of striatal D1R were found among all groups; D2R was significantly decreased in the striatum of PD patients when compared with control and AD patients. Some clinical manifestations: age of onset, PD stage, dopamine responsiveness, and survival time after onset; showed a better correlation with striatal D1R + D3R densities combined compared to D1R or D3R alone. Interpretation: There is a possibility that we may infer the results in diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of PD by detecting D1R + D3R as opposed to using dopamine D1 or D3 receptors alone. This is especially true for elderly patients with low D2R expression as is common in this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-237
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Translational Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


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