The putamen has a somatotopic organization of neurons identified by correspondence of firing rates with selected body part movements, as well as by complex, but organized, differential cortical projections onto putamen. In isolated focal dystonia, whole putaminal binding of dopamine D2-like receptor radioligands is quantitatively decreased, but it has not been known whether selected parts of the putamen are differentially affected depending upon the body part affected by dystonia. The radioligand [18F]spiperone binds predominantly to D2-like receptors in striatum. We hypothesized that the spatial location of [18F]spiperone binding within the putamen would differ in patients with dystonia limited to the hand versus the face, and we tested that hypothesis using positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. To address statistical and methodological concerns, we chose a straightforward but robust image analysis method. An automated algorithm located the peak location of [18F]spiperone binding within the striatum, relative to a brain atlas, in each of 14 patients with cranial dystonia and 8 patients with hand dystonia. The mean (left and right) |x|, y, and z coordinates of peak striatal binding for each patient were compared between groups by t test. The location of peak [18F]spiperone binding within the putamen differed significantly between groups (cranial dystonia z<hand dystonia z, p = 0.016). We conclude that in isolated focal dystonia, dopamine D2-like receptors are distributed differently in the putamen depending on the body part manifesting dystonia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere88121
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 10 2014


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