To compare dopamine (DA) and DA metabolite levels in the putamen and caudate in brains with incidental Lewy bodies (ILB), Parkinson's disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and no Lewy bodies (normal controls) among decedents from the longitudinal Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HAAS). BACKGROUND: The significance of ILB, Lewy bodies in brains from those without PD or dementia, is incompletely understood. ILB may represent a pre-clinical stage of PD in individuals who died prior to developing motor symptoms. If this is correct, putaminal DA levels in ILB should be intermediate between levels from brains with no Lewy bodies, and those with PD/DLB. DESIGN/METHODS: Putamen and caudate DA, homovanillic acid (HVA), dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), and 3-methoxytyramine (3MT) levels were analyzed by high pressure liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection in 182 HAAS brains. Age-adjusted mean levels of DA and metabolites in ug/gm were compared in cases of ILB(N=26), PD(N=10), DLB(N=10), and normal controls(N=136). RESULTS: As expected, putamen DA and DOPAC levels in ug/gm were significantly lower in PD (DA = 0.61, DOPAC = 0.26) and DLB (DA = 0.1.13, DOPAC = 0.24) vs normal controls (DA = 3.16, DOPAC = 0.83) (p<0.05 for normals vs PD and DLB). ILB DA and DOPAC levels (DA = 2.29, DOPAC = 0.59) were intermediate between normal controls and PD/DLB (p<0.05 for normal controls vs ILB for DOPAC) Similar results were obtained for HVA and 3MT in the putamen and for caudate DA and metabolite levels. CONCLUSIONS: Dopamine and dopamine metabolite levels in the putamen and caudate in ILB are intermediate between the levels in normal brains and those with PD or DLB. ILB likely represent a pre-motor pathological stage of PD, found in those who died prior to developing the classic PD motor features.
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