Measuring age-related changes in dopamine D2 receptors with 11C-raclopride and 18F-N-methylspiroperidol

Nora D. Volkow, Gene Jack Wang, Joanna S. Fowler, Jean Logan, Samuel J. Gatley, Robert R. MacGregor, David J. Schlyer, Robert Hitzemann, Alfred P. Wolf

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131 Scopus citations


This study investigates the rate of age-related dopamine D2 receptor loss as determined by positron emission tomography (PET) and 11C-raclopride and compares it with D2 loss previously estimated with 18F-N-methylspiroperidol (NMS). Dopamine D2 receptors were measured with 11C-raclopride in 24 healthy volunteers (24-73 years of age) using the ratio of the distribution volume in striatum to that in cerebellum (Bmax/Kd + 1). The results were compared with those obtained in 20 healthy male volunteers (20-49 years of age) in whom D2 receptors were measured with NMS using the ratio index (slope of the striatum-to-cerebellum ratio as a function of time). Findings of correlational analysis between age and dopamine D2 receptor availability were significant for both ligands. Estimates of dopamine D2 receptor loss per decade corresponded to 7.9% for the 11C-raclopride study and 7.8% for the NMS study. Both ligands documented significant age-related decreases in dopamine D2 receptors that occurred relatively early in life (40 years of age).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - 31 May 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Striatum


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