GM1 ganglioside in Parkinson's disease: Pilot study of effects on dopamine transporter binding

Jay S. Schneider, Franca Cambi, Stephen M. Gollomp, Hiroto Kuwabara, James R. Brašić, Benjamin Leiby, Stephanie Sendek, Dean F. Wong

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40 Scopus citations


Abstract Objective GM1 ganglioside has been suggested as a treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD), potentially having symptomatic and disease modifying effects. The current pilot imaging study was performed to examine effects of GM1 on dopamine transporter binding, as a surrogate measure of disease progression, studied longitudinally. Methods Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging data were obtained from a subset of subjects enrolled in a delayed start clinical trial of GM1 in PD [1]: 15 Early-start (ES) subjects, 14 Delayed-start (DS) subjects, and 11 Comparison (standard-of-care) subjects. Treatment subjects were studied over a 2.5 year period while Comparison subjects were studied over 2 years. Dynamic PET scans were performed over 90 min following injection of [11C]methylphenidate. Regional values of binding potential (BPND) were analyzed for several striatal volumes of interest. Results Clinical results for this subset of subjects were similar to those previously reported for the larger study group. ES subjects showed early symptomatic improvement and slow symptom progression over the study period. DS and Comparison subjects were initially on the same symptom progression trajectory but diverged once DS subjects received GM1 treatment. Imaging results showed significant slowing of BPND loss in several striatal regions in GM1-treated subjects and in some cases, an increased BPND in some striatal regions was detected after GM1 use. Interpretation Results of this pilot imaging study provide additional data to suggest a potential disease modifying effect of GM1 on PD. These results need to be confirmed in a larger number of subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13857
Pages (from-to)118-123
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 15 2015


  • Caudate
  • Dopamine transporter
  • GM1 ganglioside
  • PET
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Putamen


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