Brain Biochemistry in Patients with ET Conclusion

The pathology of essential tremor is increasingly being studied; however, there are limited studies of biochemical changes in this condition. Dr. Shill and Adler’s team studied several candidate biochemical/anatomical systems in the brainstem, striatum, and cerebellum of 23 essential tremor subjects who came to autopsy, comparing them with a control population.

When looking at several areas of the brain known to be impacted by PD, no significant differences could be found. These results are supportive of a possible role for reduced GABAergic function in the locus coeruleus (the nucleus in the part of the brainstem involved in physiological responses to stress and panic) in essential tremor. Further, the hypothesis that essential tremor represents early Parkinson’s disease was not supported, as striatal dopaminergic markers were not reduced compared with control subjects.