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1.  Evaluation of the novel folate receptor ligand [18F]fluoro-PEG-folate for macrophage targeting in a rat model of arthritis 
Introduction
Detection of (subclinical) synovitis is relevant for both early diagnosis and monitoring of therapy of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Previously, the potential of imaging (sub)clinical arthritis was demonstrated by targeting the translocator protein in activated macrophages using (R)-[11C]PK11195 and positron emission tomography (PET). Images, however, also showed significant peri-articular background activity. The folate receptor (FR)-β is a potential alternative target for imaging activated macrophages. Therefore, the PET tracer [18F]fluoro-PEG-folate was synthesized and evaluated in both in vitro and ex vivo studies using a methylated BSA induced arthritis model.
Methods
[18F]fluoro-PEG-folate was synthesized in a two-step procedure. Relative binding affinities of non-radioactive fluoro-PEG-folate, folic acid and naturally circulating 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-Me-THF) to FR were determined using KB cells with high expression of FR. Both in vivo [18F]fluoro-PEG-folate PET and ex vivo tissue distribution studies were performed in arthritic and normal rats and results were compared with those of the established macrophage tracer (R)-[11C]PK11195.
Results
[18F]fluoro-PEG-folate was synthesized with a purity >97%, a yield of 300 to 1,700 MBq and a specific activity between 40 and 70 GBq/µmol. Relative in vitro binding affinity for FR of F-PEG-folate was 1.8-fold lower than that of folic acid, but 3-fold higher than that of 5-Me-THF. In the rat model, [18F]fluoro-PEG-folate uptake in arthritic knees was increased compared with both contralateral knees and knees of normal rats. Uptake in arthritic knees could be blocked by an excess of glucosamine-folate, consistent with [18F]fluoro-PEG-folate being specifically bound to FR. Arthritic knee-to-bone and arthritic knee-to-blood ratios of [18F]fluoro-PEG-folate were increased compared with those of (R)-[11C]PK11195. Reduction of 5-Me-THF levels in rat plasma to those mimicking human levels increased absolute [18F]fluoro-PEG-folate uptake in arthritic joints, but without improving target-to-background ratios.
Conclusions
The novel PET tracer [18F]fluoro-PEG-folate, designed to target FR on activated macrophages provided improved contrast in a rat model of arthritis compared with the accepted macrophage tracer (R)-[11C]PK11195. These results warrant further exploration of [18F]fluoro-PEG-folate as a putative PET tracer for imaging (sub)clinical arthritis in RA patients.
doi:10.1186/ar4191
PMCID: PMC3672671  PMID: 23452511
2.  Phenylketonuria: reduced tyrosine brain influx relates to reduced cerebral protein synthesis 
Background
In phenylketonuria (PKU), elevated blood phenylalanine (Phe) concentrations are considered to impair transport of large neutral amino acids (LNAAs) from blood to brain. This impairment is believed to underlie cognitive deficits in PKU via different mechanisms, including reduced cerebral protein synthesis. In this study, we investigated the hypothesis that impaired LNAA influx relates to reduced cerebral protein synthesis.
Methods
Using positron emission tomography, L-[1-11C]-tyrosine (11C-Tyr) brain influx and incorporation into cerebral protein were studied in 16 PKU patients (median age 24, range 16 – 47 years), most of whom were early and continuously treated. Data were analyzed by regression analyses, using either 11C-Tyr brain influx or 11C-Tyr cerebral protein incorporation as outcome variable. Predictor variables were baseline plasma Phe concentration, Phe tolerance, age, and 11C-Tyr brain efflux. For the modelling of cerebral protein incorporation, 11C-Tyr brain influx was added as a predictor variable.
Results
11C-Tyr brain influx was inversely associated with plasma Phe concentrations (median 512, range 233 – 1362 μmol/L; delta adjusted R2=0.571, p=0.013). In addition, 11C-Tyr brain influx was positively associated with 11C-Tyr brain efflux (delta adjusted R2=0.098, p=0.041). Cerebral protein incorporation was positively associated with 11C-Tyr brain influx (adjusted R2=0.567, p<0.001). All additional associations between predictor and outcome variables were statistically nonsignificant.
Conclusions
Our data favour the hypothesis that an elevated concentration of Phe in blood reduces cerebral protein synthesis by impairing LNAA transport from blood to brain. Considering the importance of cerebral protein synthesis for adequate brain development and functioning, our results support the notion that PKU treatment be continued in adulthood. Future studies investigating the effects of impaired LNAA transport on cerebral protein synthesis in more detail are indicated.
doi:10.1186/1750-1172-8-133
PMCID: PMC3847152  PMID: 24007597
Phenylketonuria; Phenylalanine; Tyrosine; Blood–brain barrier; Cerebral protein synthesis; Positron emission tomography
3.  Positron Emission Tomography for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability 
Executive Summary
In July 2009, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging Technologies for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding different cardiac imaging modalities to ensure that appropriate technologies are accessed by patients undergoing viability assessment. This project came about when the Health Services Branch at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care asked MAS to provide an evidentiary platform on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of non-invasive cardiac imaging modalities.
After an initial review of the strategy and consultation with experts, MAS identified five key non-invasive cardiac imaging technologies that can be used for the assessment of myocardial viability: positron emission tomography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, dobutamine echocardiography, and dobutamine echocardiography with contrast, and single photon emission computed tomography.
A 2005 review conducted by MAS determined that positron emission tomography was more sensitivity than dobutamine echocardiography and single photon emission tomography and dominated the other imaging modalities from a cost-effective standpoint. However, there was inadequate evidence to compare positron emission tomography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Thus, this report focuses on this comparison only. For both technologies, an economic analysis was also completed.
The Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging Technologies for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: www.health.gov.on.ca/mas or at www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html
Positron Emission Tomography for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Magnetic Resonance Imaging for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Objective
The objective of this analysis is to assess the effectiveness and safety of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using F-18-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) for the assessment of myocardial viability. To evaluate the effectiveness of FDG PET viability imaging, the following outcomes are examined:
the diagnostic accuracy of FDG PET for predicting functional recovery;
the impact of PET viability imaging on prognosis (mortality and other patient outcomes); and
the contribution of PET viability imaging to treatment decision making and subsequent patient outcomes.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction and Heart Failure
Heart failure is a complex syndrome characterized by the heart’s inability to maintain adequate blood circulation through the body leading to multiorgan abnormalities and, eventually, death. Patients with heart failure experience poor functional capacity, decreased quality of life, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality.
In 2005, more than 71,000 Canadians died from cardiovascular disease, of which, 54% were due to ischemic heart disease. Left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction due to coronary artery disease (CAD)1 is the primary cause of heart failure accounting for more than 70% of cases. The prevalence of heart failure was estimated at one percent of the Canadian population in 1989. Since then, the increase in the older population has undoubtedly resulted in a substantial increase in cases. Heart failure is associated with a poor prognosis: one-year mortality rates were 32.9% and 31.1% for men and women, respectively in Ontario between 1996 and 1997.
Treatment Options
In general, there are three options for the treatment of heart failure: medical treatment, heart transplantation, and revascularization for those with CAD as the underlying cause. Concerning medical treatment, despite recent advances, mortality remains high among treated patients, while, heart transplantation is affected by the limited availability of donor hearts and consequently has long waiting lists. The third option, revascularization, is used to restore the flow of blood to the heart via coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or through minimally invasive percutaneous coronary interventions (balloon angioplasty and stenting). Both methods, however, are associated with important perioperative risks including mortality, so it is essential to properly select patients for this procedure.
Myocardial Viability
Left ventricular dysfunction may be permanent if a myocardial scar is formed, or it may be reversible after revascularization. Reversible LV dysfunction occurs when the myocardium is viable but dysfunctional (reduced contractility). Since only patients with dysfunctional but viable myocardium benefit from revascularization, the identification and quantification of the extent of myocardial viability is an important part of the work-up of patients with heart failure when determining the most appropriate treatment path. Various non-invasive cardiac imaging modalities can be used to assess patients in whom determination of viability is an important clinical issue, specifically:
dobutamine echocardiography (echo),
stress echo with contrast,
SPECT using either technetium or thallium,
cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cardiac MRI), and
positron emission tomography (PET).
Dobutamine Echocardiography
Stress echocardiography can be used to detect viable myocardium. During the infusion of low dose dobutamine (5 – 10 μg/kg/min), an improvement of contractility in hypokinetic and akentic segments is indicative of the presence of viable myocardium. Alternatively, a low-high dose dobutamine protocol can be used in which a biphasic response characterized by improved contractile function during the low-dose infusion followed by a deterioration in contractility due to stress induced ischemia during the high dose dobutamine infusion (dobutamine dose up to 40 ug/kg/min) represents viable tissue. Newer techniques including echocardiography using contrast agents, harmonic imaging, and power doppler imaging may help to improve the diagnostic accuracy of echocardiographic assessment of myocardial viability.
Stress Echocardiography with Contrast
Intravenous contrast agents, which are high molecular weight inert gas microbubbles that act like red blood cells in the vascular space, can be used during echocardiography to assess myocardial viability. These agents allow for the assessment of myocardial blood flow (perfusion) and contractile function (as described above), as well as the simultaneous assessment of perfusion to make it possible to distinguish between stunned and hibernating myocardium.
SPECT
SPECT can be performed using thallium-201 (Tl-201), a potassium analogue, or technetium-99 m labelled tracers. When Tl-201 is injected intravenously into a patient, it is taken up by the myocardial cells through regional perfusion, and Tl-201 is retained in the cell due to sodium/potassium ATPase pumps in the myocyte membrane. The stress-redistribution-reinjection protocol involves three sets of images. The first two image sets (taken immediately after stress and then three to four hours after stress) identify perfusion defects that may represent scar tissue or viable tissue that is severely hypoperfused. The third set of images is taken a few minutes after the re-injection of Tl-201 and after the second set of images is completed. These re-injection images identify viable tissue if the defects exhibit significant fill-in (> 10% increase in tracer uptake) on the re-injection images.
The other common Tl-201 viability imaging protocol, rest-redistribution, involves SPECT imaging performed at rest five minutes after Tl-201 is injected and again three to four hours later. Viable tissue is identified if the delayed images exhibit significant fill-in of defects identified in the initial scans (> 10% increase in uptake) or if defects are fixed but the tracer activity is greater than 50%.
There are two technetium-99 m tracers: sestamibi (MIBI) and tetrofosmin. The uptake and retention of these tracers is dependent on regional perfusion and the integrity of cellular membranes. Viability is assessed using one set of images at rest and is defined by segments with tracer activity greater than 50%.
Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cardiac MRI) is a non-invasive, x-ray free technique that uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed images of the structure and function of the heart. Two types of cardiac MRI are used to assess myocardial viability: dobutamine stress magnetic resonance imaging (DSMR) and delayed contrast-enhanced cardiac MRI (DE-MRI). DE-MRI, the most commonly used technique in Ontario, uses gadolinium-based contrast agents to define the transmural extent of scar, which can be visualized based on the intensity of the image. Hyper-enhanced regions correspond to irreversibly damaged myocardium. As the extent of hyper-enhancement increases, the amount of scar increases, so there is a lower the likelihood of functional recovery.
Cardiac Positron Emission Tomography
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear medicine technique used to image tissues based on the distinct ways in which normal and abnormal tissues metabolize positron-emitting radionuclides. Radionuclides are radioactive analogs of common physiological substrates such as sugars, amino acids, and free fatty acids that are used by the body. The only licensed radionuclide used in PET imaging for viability assessment is F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG).
During a PET scan, the radionuclides are injected into the body and as they decay, they emit positively charged particles (positrons) that travel several millimetres into tissue and collide with orbiting electrons. This collision results in annihilation where the combined mass of the positron and electron is converted into energy in the form of two 511 keV gamma rays, which are then emitted in opposite directions (180 degrees) and captured by an external array of detector elements in the PET gantry. Computer software is then used to convert the radiation emission into images. The system is set up so that it only detects coincident gamma rays that arrive at the detectors within a predefined temporal window, while single photons arriving without a pair or outside the temporal window do not active the detector. This allows for increased spatial and contrast resolution.
Evidence-Based Analysis
Research Questions
What is the diagnostic accuracy of PET for detecting myocardial viability?
What is the prognostic value of PET viability imaging (mortality and other clinical outcomes)?
What is the contribution of PET viability imaging to treatment decision making?
What is the safety of PET viability imaging?
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on July 17, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 2004 to July 16, 2009. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. In addition, published systematic reviews and health technology assessments were reviewed for relevant studies published before 2004. Reference lists of included studies were also examined for any additional relevant studies not already identified. The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
Criteria applying to diagnostic accuracy studies, prognosis studies, and physician decision-making studies:
English language full-reports
Health technology assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and observational studies
Patients with chronic, known CAD
PET imaging using FDG for the purpose of detecting viable myocardium
Criteria applying to diagnostic accuracy studies:
Assessment of functional recovery ≥3 months after revascularization
Raw data available to calculate sensitivity and specificity
Gold standard: prediction of global or regional functional recovery
Criteria applying to prognosis studies:
Mortality studies that compare revascularized patients with non-revascularized patients and patients with viable and non-viable myocardium
Exclusion Criteria
Criteria applying to diagnostic accuracy studies, prognosis studies, and physician decision-making studies:
PET perfusion imaging
< 20 patients
< 18 years of age
Patients with non-ischemic heart disease
Animal or phantom studies
Studies focusing on the technical aspects of PET
Studies conducted exclusively in patients with acute myocardial infarction (MI)
Duplicate publications
Criteria applying to diagnostic accuracy studies
Gold standard other than functional recovery (e.g., PET or cardiac MRI)
Assessment of functional recovery occurs before patients are revascularized
Outcomes of Interest
Diagnostic accuracy studies
Sensitivity and specificity
Positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV)
Positive and negative likelihood ratios
Diagnostic accuracy
Adverse events
Prognosis studies
Mortality rate
Functional status
Exercise capacity
Quality of Life
Influence on PET viability imaging on physician decision making
Statistical Methods
Pooled estimates of sensitivity and specificity were calculated using a bivariate, binomial generalized linear mixed model. Statistical significance was defined by P values less than 0.05, where “false discovery rate” adjustments were made for multiple hypothesis testing. Using the bivariate model parameters, summary receiver operating characteristic (sROC) curves were produced. The area under the sROC curve was estimated by numerical integration with a cubic spline (default option). Finally, pooled estimates of mortality rates were calculated using weighted means.
Quality of Evidence
The quality of evidence assigned to individual diagnostic studies was determined using the QUADAS tool, a list of 14 questions that address internal and external validity, bias, and generalizibility of diagnostic accuracy studies. Each question is scored as “yes”, “no”, or “unclear”. The quality of the body of evidence was then assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
A total of 40 studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review: one health technology assessment, two systematic reviews, 22 observational diagnostic accuracy studies, and 16 prognosis studies. The available PET viability imaging literature addresses two questions: 1) what is the diagnostic accuracy of PET imaging for the assessment; and 2) what is the prognostic value of PET viability imaging. The diagnostic accuracy studies use regional or global functional recovery as the reference standard to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the technology. While regional functional recovery was most commonly used in the studies, global functional recovery is more important clinically. Due to differences in reporting and thresholds, however, it was not possible to pool global functional recovery.
Functional recovery, however, is a surrogate reference standard for viability and consequently, the diagnostic accuracy results may underestimate the specificity of PET viability imaging. For example, regional functional recovery may take up to a year after revascularization depending on whether it is stunned or hibernating tissue, while many of the studies looked at regional functional recovery 3 to 6 months after revascularization. In addition, viable tissue may not recover function after revascularization due to graft patency or re-stenosis. Both issues may lead to false positives and underestimate specificity. Given these limitations, the prognostic value of PET viability imaging provides the most direct and clinically useful information. This body of literature provides evidence on the comparative effectiveness of revascularization and medical therapy in patients with viable myocardium and patients without viable myocardium. In addition, the literature compares the impact of PET-guided treatment decision making with SPECT-guided or standard care treatment decision making on survival and cardiac events (including cardiac mortality, MI, hospital stays, unintended revascularization, etc).
The main findings from the diagnostic accuracy and prognosis evidence are:
Based on the available very low quality evidence, PET is a useful imaging modality for the detection of viable myocardium. The pooled estimates of sensitivity and specificity for the prediction of regional functional recovery as a surrogate for viable myocardium are 91.5% (95% CI, 88.2% – 94.9%) and 67.8% (95% CI, 55.8% – 79.7%), respectively.
Based the available very low quality of evidence, an indirect comparison of pooled estimates of sensitivity and specificity showed no statistically significant difference in the diagnostic accuracy of PET viability imaging for regional functional recovery using perfusion/metabolism mismatch with FDG PET plus either a PET or SPECT perfusion tracer compared with metabolism imaging with FDG PET alone.
FDG PET + PET perfusion metabolism mismatch: sensitivity, 89.9% (83.5% – 96.4%); specificity, 78.3% (66.3% – 90.2%);
FDG PET + SPECT perfusion metabolism mismatch: sensitivity, 87.2% (78.0% – 96.4%); specificity, 67.1% (48.3% – 85.9%);
FDG PET metabolism: sensitivity, 94.5% (91.0% – 98.0%); specificity, 66.8% (53.2% – 80.3%).
Given these findings, further higher quality studies are required to determine the comparative effectiveness and clinical utility of metabolism and perfusion/metabolism mismatch viability imaging with PET.
Based on very low quality of evidence, patients with viable myocardium who are revascularized have a lower mortality rate than those who are treated with medical therapy. Given the quality of evidence, however, this estimate of effect is uncertain so further higher quality studies in this area should be undertaken to determine the presence and magnitude of the effect.
While revascularization may reduce mortality in patients with viable myocardium, current moderate quality RCT evidence suggests that PET-guided treatment decisions do not result in statistically significant reductions in mortality compared with treatment decisions based on SPECT or standard care protocols. The PARR II trial by Beanlands et al. found a significant reduction in cardiac events (a composite outcome that includes cardiac deaths, MI, or hospital stay for cardiac cause) between the adherence to PET recommendations subgroup and the standard care group (hazard ratio, .62; 95% confidence intervals, 0.42 – 0.93; P = .019); however, this post-hoc sub-group analysis is hypothesis generating and higher quality studies are required to substantiate these findings.
The use of FDG PET plus SPECT to determine perfusion/metabolism mismatch to assess myocardial viability increases the radiation exposure compared with FDG PET imaging alone or FDG PET combined with PET perfusion imaging (total-body effective dose: FDG PET, 7 mSv; FDG PET plus PET perfusion tracer, 7.6 – 7.7 mSV; FDG PET plus SPECT perfusion tracer, 16 – 25 mSv). While the precise risk attributed to this increased exposure is unknown, there is increasing concern regarding lifetime multiple exposures to radiation-based imaging modalities, although the incremental lifetime risk for patients who are older or have a poor prognosis may not be as great as for healthy individuals.
PMCID: PMC3377573  PMID: 23074393
4.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability 
Executive Summary
In July 2009, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging Technologies for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding different cardiac imaging modalities to ensure that appropriate technologies are accessed by patients undergoing viability assessment. This project came about when the Health Services Branch at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care asked MAS to provide an evidentiary platform on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of noninvasive cardiac imaging modalities.
After an initial review of the strategy and consultation with experts, MAS identified five key non-invasive cardiac imaging technologies that can be used for the assessment of myocardial viability: positron emission tomography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, dobutamine echocardiography, and dobutamine echocardiography with contrast, and single photon emission computed tomography.
A 2005 review conducted by MAS determined that positron emission tomography was more sensitivity than dobutamine echocardiography and single photon emission tomography and dominated the other imaging modalities from a cost-effective standpoint. However, there was inadequate evidence to compare positron emission tomography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Thus, this report focuses on this comparison only. For both technologies, an economic analysis was also completed.
A summary decision analytic model was then developed to encapsulate the data from each of these reports (available on the OHTAC and MAS website).
The Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging Technologies for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: www.health.gov.on.ca/mas or at www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html
Positron Emission Tomography for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Magnetic Resonance Imaging for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Objective
The objective of this analysis is to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (cardiac MRI) for the assessment of myocardial viability. To evaluate the effectiveness of cardiac MRI viability imaging, the following outcomes were examined: the diagnostic accuracy in predicting functional recovery and the impact of cardiac MRI viability imaging on prognosis (mortality and other patient outcomes).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction and Heart Failure
Heart failure is a complex syndrome characterized by the heart’s inability to maintain adequate blood circulation through the body leading to multiorgan abnormalities and, eventually, death. Patients with heart failure experience poor functional capacity, decreased quality of life, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality.
In 2005, more than 71,000 Canadians died from cardiovascular disease, of which, 54% were due to ischemic heart disease. Left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction due to coronary artery disease (CAD) 1 is the primary cause of heart failure accounting for more than 70% of cases. The prevalence of heart failure was estimated at one percent of the Canadian population in 1989. Since then, the increase in the older population has undoubtedly resulted in a substantial increase in cases. Heart failure is associated with a poor prognosis: one-year mortality rates were 32.9% and 31.1% for men and women, respectively in Ontario between 1996 and 1997.
Treatment Options
In general, there are three options for the treatment of heart failure: medical treatment, heart transplantation, and revascularization for those with CAD as the underlying cause. Concerning medical treatment, despite recent advances, mortality remains high among treated patients, while, heart transplantation is affected by the limited availability of donor hearts and consequently has long waiting lists. The third option, revascularization, is used to restore the flow of blood to the heart via coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or, in some cases, through minimally invasive percutaneous coronary interventions (balloon angioplasty and stenting). Both methods, however, are associated with important perioperative risks including mortality, so it is essential to properly select patients for this procedure.
Myocardial Viability
Left ventricular dysfunction may be permanent, due to the formation of myocardial scar, or it may be reversible after revascularization. Reversible LV dysfunction occurs when the myocardium is viable but dysfunctional (reduced contractility). Since only patients with dysfunctional but viable myocardium benefit from revascularization, the identification and quantification of the extent of myocardial viability is an important part of the work-up of patients with heart failure when determining the most appropriate treatment path. Various non-invasive cardiac imaging modalities can be used to assess patients in whom determination of viability is an important clinical issue, specifically:
dobutamine echocardiography (echo),
stress echo with contrast,
SPECT using either technetium or thallium,
cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cardiac MRI), and
positron emission tomography (PET).
Dobutamine Echocardiography
Stress echocardiography can be used to detect viable myocardium. During the infusion of low dose dobutamine (5 – 10 µg/kg/min), an improvement of contractility in hypokinetic and akentic segments is indicative of the presence of viable myocardium. Alternatively, a low-high dose dobutamine protocol can be used in which a biphasic response characterized by improved contractile function during the low-dose infusion followed by a deterioration in contractility due to stress induced ischemia during the high dose dobutamine infusion (dobutamine dose up to 40 ug/kg/min) represents viable tissue. Newer techniques including echocardiography using contrast agents, harmonic imaging, and power doppler imaging may help to improve the diagnostic accuracy of echocardiographic assessment of myocardial viability.
Stress Echocardiography with Contrast
Intravenous contrast agents, which are high molecular weight inert gas microbubbles that act like red blood cells in the vascular space, can be used during echocardiography to assess myocardial viability. These agents allow for the assessment of myocardial blood flow (perfusion) and contractile function (as described above), as well as the simultaneous assessment of perfusion to make it possible to distinguish between stunned and hibernating myocardium.
SPECT
SPECT can be performed using thallium-201 (Tl-201), a potassium analogue, or technetium-99 m labelled tracers. When Tl-201 is injected intravenously into a patient, it is taken up by the myocardial cells through regional perfusion, and Tl-201 is retained in the cell due to sodium/potassium ATPase pumps in the myocyte membrane. The stress-redistribution-reinjection protocol involves three sets of images. The first two image sets (taken immediately after stress and then three to four hours after stress) identify perfusion defects that may represent scar tissue or viable tissue that is severely hypoperfused. The third set of images is taken a few minutes after the re-injection of Tl-201 and after the second set of images is completed. These re-injection images identify viable tissue if the defects exhibit significant fill-in (> 10% increase in tracer uptake) on the re-injection images.
The other common Tl-201 viability imaging protocol, rest-redistribution, involves SPECT imaging performed at rest five minutes after Tl-201 is injected and again three to four hours later. Viable tissue is identified if the delayed images exhibit significant fill-in of defects identified in the initial scans (> 10% increase in uptake) or if defects are fixed but the tracer activity is greater than 50%.
There are two technetium-99 m tracers: sestamibi (MIBI) and tetrofosmin. The uptake and retention of these tracers is dependent on regional perfusion and the integrity of cellular membranes. Viability is assessed using one set of images at rest and is defined by segments with tracer activity greater than 50%.
Cardiac Positron Emission Tomography
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear medicine technique used to image tissues based on the distinct ways in which normal and abnormal tissues metabolize positron-emitting radionuclides. Radionuclides are radioactive analogs of common physiological substrates such as sugars, amino acids, and free fatty acids that are used by the body. The only licensed radionuclide used in PET imaging for viability assessment is F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG).
During a PET scan, the radionuclides are injected into the body and as they decay, they emit positively charged particles (positrons) that travel several millimetres into tissue and collide with orbiting electrons. This collision results in annihilation where the combined mass of the positron and electron is converted into energy in the form of two 511 keV gamma rays, which are then emitted in opposite directions (180 degrees) and captured by an external array of detector elements in the PET gantry. Computer software is then used to convert the radiation emission into images. The system is set up so that it only detects coincident gamma rays that arrive at the detectors within a predefined temporal window, while single photons arriving without a pair or outside the temporal window do not active the detector. This allows for increased spatial and contrast resolution.
Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cardiac MRI) is a non-invasive, x-ray free technique that uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed images of the structure and function of the heart. Two types of cardiac MRI are used to assess myocardial viability: dobutamine stress magnetic resonance imaging (DSMR) and delayed contrast-enhanced cardiac MRI (DE-MRI). DE-MRI, the most commonly used technique in Ontario, uses gadolinium-based contrast agents to define the transmural extent of scar, which can be visualized based on the intensity of the image. Hyper-enhanced regions correspond to irreversibly damaged myocardium. As the extent of hyper-enhancement increases, the amount of scar increases, so there is a lower the likelihood of functional recovery.
Evidence-Based Analysis
Research Questions
What is the diagnostic accuracy of cardiac MRI for detecting myocardial viability?
What is the impact of cardiac MRI viability imaging on prognosis (mortality and other clinical outcomes)?
How does cardiac MRI compare with cardiac PET imaging for the assessment of myocardial viability?
What is the contribution of cardiac MRI viability imaging to treatment decision making?
Is cardiac MRI cost-effective compared with other cardiac imaging modalities for the assessment of myocardial viability?
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on October 9, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 2005 until October 9, 2009. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria full-text articles were obtained. In addition, published systematic reviews and health technology assessments were reviewed for relevant studies published before 2005. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-reports
Published between January 1, 2005 and October 9, 2009
Health technology assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and observational studies
Patients with chronic, known coronary artery disease (CAD)
Used contrast-enhanced MRI
Assessment of functional recovery ≥ 3 months after revascularization
Exclusion Criteria
< 20 patients
< 18 years of age
Patients with non-ischemic heart disease
Studies conducted exclusively in patients with acute myocardial infarction (MI)
Studies where TP, TN, FP, FN cannot be determined
Outcomes of Interest
Sensitivity
Specificity
Positive predictive value (PPV)
Negative Predictive value (NPV)
Positive likelihood ratio
Negative likelihood ratio
Diagnostic accuracy
Mortality rate (for prognostic studies)
Adverse events
Summary of Findings
Based on the available very low quality evidence, MRI is a useful imaging modality for the detection of viable myocardium. The pooled estimates of sensitivity and specificity for the prediction of regional functional recovery as a surrogate for viable myocardium are 84.5% (95% CI: 77.5% – 91.6%) and 71.0% (95% CI: 68.8% – 79.2%), respectively.
Subgroup analysis demonstrated a statistically significant difference in the sensitivity of MRI to assess myocardial viability for studies using ≤25% hyperenhancement as a viability threshold versus studies using ≤50% hyperenhancement as their viability threshold [78.7 (95% CI: 69.1% - 88.2%) and 96.2 (95% CI: 91.8 – 100.6); p=0.0044 respectively]. Marked differences in specificity were observed [73.6 (95% CI: 62.6% - 84.6%) and 47.2 (95% CI: 22.2 – 72.3); p=0.2384 respectively]; however, these findings were not statistically significant.
There were no statistically significant differences between the sensitivities or specificities for any other subgroups including mean preoperative LVEF, imaging method for function recovery assessment, and length of follow-up.
There was no evidence available to determine whether patients with viable myocardium who are revascularized have a lower mortality rate than those who are treated with medical therapy.
PMCID: PMC3426228  PMID: 23074392
5.  In Vivo Evaluation of α7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Agonists [11C]A-582941 and [11C]A-844606 in Mice and Conscious Monkeys 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e8961.
Background
The α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) play an important role in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. The goal of this study was to evaluate the two carbon-11-labeled α7 nAChR agonists [11C]A-582941 and [11C]A-844606 for their potential as novel positron emission tomography (PET) tracers.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The two tracers were synthesized by methylation of the corresponding desmethyl precursors using [11C]methyl triflate. Effects of receptor blockade in mice were determined by coinjection of either tracer along with a carrier or an excess amount of a selective α7 nAChR agonist (SSR180711). Metabolic stability was investigated using radio-HPLC. Dynamic PET scans were performed in conscious monkeys with/without SSR180711-treatment. [11C]A-582941 and [11C]A-844606 showed high uptake in the mouse brain. Most radioactive compounds in the brain were detected as an unchanged form. However, regional selectivity and selective receptor blockade were not clearly observed for either compound in the mouse brain. On the other hand, the total distribution volume of [11C]A-582941 and [11C]A-844606 was high in the hippocampus and thalamus but low in the cerebellum in the conscious monkey brain, and reduced by pretreatment with SSR180711.
Conclusions/Significance
A nonhuman primate study suggests that [11C]A-582941 and [11C]A-844606 would be potential PET ligands for imaging α7 nAChRs in the human brain.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008961
PMCID: PMC2813863  PMID: 20126539
6.  Positron Emission Tomography for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective was to update the 2001 systematic review conducted by the Institute For Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) on the use of positron emission tomography (PET) in assessing myocardial viability. The update consisted of a review and analysis of the research evidence published since the 2001 ICES review to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of PET in detecting left ventricular (LV) viability and predicting patient outcomes after revascularization in comparison with other noninvasive techniques.
Background
Left Ventricular Viability
Heart failure is a complex syndrome that impairs the contractile ability of the heart to maintain adequate blood circulation, resulting in poor functional capacity and increased risk of morbidity and mortality. It is the leading cause of hospitalization in elderly Canadians. In more than two-thirds of cases, heart failure is secondary to coronary heart disease. It has been shown that dysfunctional myocardium resulting from coronary heart disease (CAD) may recover contractile function (i.e. considered viable). Dysfunctional but viable myocardium may have been stunned by a brief episode of ischemia, followed by restoration of perfusion, and may regain function spontaneously. It is believed that repetitive stunning results in hibernating myocardium that will only regain contractile function upon revascularization.
For people with CAD and severe LV dysfunction (left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF] <35%) refractory to medical therapy, coronary artery bypass and heart transplantation are the only treatment options. The opportunity for a heart transplant is limited by scarcityof donor hearts. Coronary artery bypass in these patients is associated with high perioperative complications; however, there is evidence that revascularization in the presence of dysfunctional but viable myocardium is associated with survival benefits and lower rates of cardiac events. The assessment of left ventricular (LV) viability is, therefore, critical in deciding whether a patient with coronary artery disease and severe LV dysfunction should undergo revascularization, receive a heart transplant, or remain on medical therapy.
Assessment of Left Ventricular Viability
Techniques for assessing myocardial viability depend on the measurement of a specific characteristic of viable myocytes such as cell membrane integrity, preserved metabolism, mitochondria integrity, and preserved contractile reserve. In Ontario, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) using radioactive 201thallium is the most commonly used technique followed by dobutamine echocardiography. Newer techniques include SPECT using technetium tracers, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, and PET, the subject of this review.
Positron Emission Tomography
PET is a nuclear imaging technique based on the metabolism of radioactive analogs of normal substrates such as glucose and water. The radiopharmaceutical used most frequently in myocardial viability assessment is F18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), a glucose analog. The procedure involves the intravenous administration of FDG under controlled glycemic conditions, and imaging with a PET scanner. The images are reconstructed using computer software and analyzed visually or semi-quantitatively, often in conjunction with perfusion images. Dysfunctional but stunned myocardium is characterized by normal perfusion and normal FDG uptake; hibernating myocardium exhibits reduced perfusion and normal/enhanced FDG uptake (perfusion/metabolism mismatch), whereas scar tissue is characterized by reduction in both perfusion and FDG uptake (perfusion/metabolism match).
Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat used a search strategy similar to that used in the 2001 ICES review to identify English language reports of health technology assessments and primary studies in selected databases, published from January 1, 2001 to April 20, 2005. Patients of interest were those with CAD and severe ventricular dysfunction being considered for revascularization that had undergone viability assessment using either PET and/or other noninvasive techniques. The outcomes of interest were diagnostic and predictive accuracy with respect to recovery of regional or global LV function, long-term survival and cardiac events, and quality of life. Other outcomes of interest were impact on treatment decision, adverse events, and cost-effectiveness ratios.
Of 456 citations, 8 systematic reviews/meta-analyses and 37 reports on primary studies met the selection criteria. The reports were categorized using the Medical Advisory Secretariat levels of evidence system, and the quality of the reports was assessed using the criteria of the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS) developed by the Centre for Dissemination of Research (National Health Service, United Kingdom). Analysis of sensitivity, specificity, predictive values and likelihood ratios were conducted for all data as well as stratified by mean left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). There were no randomized controlled trials. The included studies compared PET with one or more other noninvasive viability tests on the same group of patients or examined the long-term outcomes of PET viability assessments. The quality assessment showed that about 50% or more of the studies had selection bias, interpreted tests without blinding, excluded uninterpretable segments in the analysis, or did not have clearly stated selection criteria. Data from the above studies were integrated with data from the 2001 ICES review for analysis and interpretation.
Summary of Findings
The evidence was derived from populations with moderate to severe ischemic LV dysfunction with an overall quality that ranges from moderate to low.
PET appears to be a safe technique for assessing myocardial viability.
CAD patients with moderate to severe ischemic LV dysfunction and residual viable myocardium had significantly lower 2-year mortality rate (3.2%) and higher event-free survival rates (92% at 3 years) when treated with revascularization than those who were not revascularized but were treated medically (16% mortality at 2-years and 48% 3-year event-free survival).
A large meta-analysis and moderate quality studies of diagnostic accuracy consistently showed that compared to other noninvasive diagnostic tests such as thallium SPECT and echocardiography, FDG PET has:
Higher sensitivity (median 90%, range 71%–100%) and better negative likelihood ratio (median 0.16, range 0–0.38; ideal <0.1) for predicting regional myocardial function recovery after revascularization.
Specificity (median 73%, range 33%–91%) that is similar to other radionuclide imaging but lower than that of dobutamine echocardiography
Less useful positive likelihood ratio (median 3.1, range 1.4 –9.2; ideal>10) for predicting segmental function recovery.
Taking positive and negative likelihood ratios together suggests that FDG PET and dobutamine echocardiography may produce small but sometimes important changes in the probability of recovering regional wall motion after revascularization.
Given its higher sensitivity, PET is less likely to produce false positive results in myocardial viability. PET, therefore, has the potential to identify some patients who might benefit from revascularization, but who would not have been identified as suitable candidates for revascularization using thallium SPECT or dobutamine echocardiography.
PET appears to be superior to other nuclear imaging techniques including SPECT with 201thallium or technetium labelled tracers, although recent studies suggest that FDG SPECT may have comparable diagnostic accuracy as FDG PET for predicting regional and global LV function recovery.
No firm conclusion can be reached about the incremental value of PET over other noninvasive techniques for predicting global function improvement or long-term outcomes in the most important target population (patients with severe ischemic LV dysfunction) due to lack of direct comparison.
An Ontario-based economic analysis showed that in people with CAD and severe LV dysfunction and who were found to have no viable myocardium or indeterminate results by thallium SPECT, the use of PET as a follow-up assessment would likely result in lower cost and better 5-year survival compared to the use of thallium SPECT alone. The projected annual budget impact of adding PET under the above scenario was estimated to range from $1.5 million to $2.3 million.
Conclusion
In patients with severe LV dysfunction, that are deemed to have no viable myocardium or indeterminate results in assessments using other noninvasive tests, PET may have a role in further identifying patients who may benefit from revascularization. No firm conclusion can be drawn on the impact of PET viability assessment on long-term clinical outcomes in the most important target population (i.e. patients with severe LV dysfunction).
PMCID: PMC3385418  PMID: 23074467
7.  Radiosynthesis and in vivo evaluation of 1-[18F]fluoroelacridar as a positron emission tomography tracer for P-glycoprotein and breast cancer resistance protein 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2011;19(7):2190-2198.
Aim of this study was to label the potent dual P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) inhibitor elacridar (1) with 18F to provide a positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer to visualize Pgp and BCRP. A series of new 1- and 2-halogen- and nitro-substituted derivatives of 1 (4a-e) was synthesized as precursor molecules and reference compounds for radiolabelling and shown to display comparable in vitro potency to 1 in increasing rhodamine 123 accumulation in a cell line overexpressing human Pgp (MDCKII-MDR1). 1-[18F]fluoroelacridar ([18F]4b) was synthesized in a decay-corrected radiochemical yield of 1.7±0.9% by a 1-step no-carrier added nucleophilic aromatic 18F-substitution of 1-nitro precursor 4c. Small-animal PET imaging of [18F]4b was performed in naïve rats, before and after administration of unlabelled 1 (5 mg/kg, n=3), as well as in wild-type and Mdr1a/b(−/−)Bcrp1(−/−) mice (n=3). In PET experiments in rats, administration of unlabelled 1 increased brain activity uptake by a factor of 9.5 (p=0.0002, 2-tailed Student’s t-test), whereas blood activity levels remained unchanged. In Mdr1a/b(−/−)Bcrp1(−/−) mice, the mean brain-to-blood ratio of activity at 60 min after tracer injection was 7.6 times higher as compared to wild-type animals (p=0.0002). HPLC analysis of rat brain tissue extracts collected at 40 min after injection of [18F]4b revealed that 93±7% of total radioactivity in brain was in the form of unchanged [18F]4b. In conclusion, the in vivo behavior of [18F]4b was found to be similar to previously described [11C]1 suggesting transport of [18F]4b by BCRP and/or Pgp at the rodent BBB. However, low radiochemical yields and a significant degree of in vivo defluorination will limit the utility of [18F]4b as a PET tracer.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2011.02.039
PMCID: PMC3690701  PMID: 21419632
PET; 1-[18F]fluoroelacridar; P-glycoprotein; breast cancer resistance protein; blood-brain barrier
8.  Radiodefluorination of 3-Fluoro-5-(2-(2-[18F](fluoromethyl)thiazol-4-yl)ethynyl)benzonitrile ([18F]SP203), a Radioligand for Imaging Brain Metabotropic Glutamate Subtype-5 Receptors with Positron Emission Tomography, Occurs by Glutathionylation in Rat Brain 
Metabotropic glutamate subtype-5-receptors (mGluR5) are implicated in several neuropsychiatric disorders. Positron emission tomography (PET) with a suitable radioligand may enable monitoring of regional brain mGluR5 density before and during treatments. We have developed a new radioligand, 3-fluoro-5-(2-(2-[18F](fluoromethyl)thiazol-4-yl)ethynyl)benzonitrile ([18F]SP203), for imaging brain mGluR5 in monkey and human. In monkey, radioactivity was observed in bone, showing release of [18F]fluoride ion from [18F]SP203. This defluorination was not inhibited by disulfiram, a potent inhibitor of CYP2E1. PET confirmed bone uptake of radioactivity and therefore defluorination of [18F]SP203 in rats. To understand the biochemical basis for defluorination, we administered [18F]SP203 plus SP203 in rats for ex vivo analysis of metabolites. Radio-HPLC detected [18F]fluoride ion as a major radiometabolite in both brain extract and urine. Incubation of [18F]SP203 with brain homogenate also generated this radiometabolite, whereas no metabolism was detected in whole blood in vitro. LC-MS analysis of the brain extract detected m/z 548 and m/z 404 ions, assignable to the [M+H]+ of S-glutathione (SP203Glu) and N-acetyl-S-L-cysteine (SP203Nac) conjugates of SP203, respectively. In urine, only the [M+H]+ of SP203Nac was detected. MS-MS and MS3 analyses of each metabolite yielded product ions consistent with its proposed structure, including the former fluoromethyl group as the site of conjugation. Metabolite structures were confirmed by similar analyses of SP203Glu and SP203Nac, prepared by glutathione S-transferase reaction and chemical synthesis, respectively. Thus, glutathionylation at the 2-fluoromethyl group is responsible for the radiodefluorination of [18F]SP203 in rat. This study provides the first demonstration of glutathione-promoted radiodefluorination of a PET radioligand.
doi:10.1124/jpet.108.143347
PMCID: PMC2679677  PMID: 18806125
Metabolism; Transport; Pharmacogenomics
9.  Metabolic brain activity suggestive of persistent pain in a rat model of neuropathic pain 
NeuroImage  2014;91:344-352.
Persistent pain is a central characteristic of neuropathic pain conditions in humans. Knowing whether rodent models of neuropathic pain produce persistent pain is therefore crucial to their translational applicability. We investigated the Spared Nerve Injury (SNI) model of neuropathic pain and the formalin pain model in rats using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with the metabolic tracer [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) to determine if there is ongoing brain activity suggestive of persistent pain. For the formalin model, under brief anesthesia we injected one hindpaw with 5% formalin and the FDG tracer into a tail vein. We then allowed the animals to awaken and observed pain behavior for 30 min during the FDG uptake period. The rat was then anesthetized and placed in the scanner for static image acquisition, which took place between minutes 45 and 75 post-tracer injection. A single reference rat brain magnetic resonance image (MRI) was used to align the PET images with the Paxinos and Watson rat brain atlas. Increased glucose metabolism was observed in the somatosensory region associated with the injection site (S1 hindlimb contralateral), S1 jaw/upper lip and cingulate cortex. Decreases were observed in the prelimbic cortex and hippocampus. Second, SNI rats were scanned 3 weeks post-surgery using the same scanning paradigm, and region-of-interest analyses revealed increased metabolic activity in the contralateral S1 hindlimb. Finally, a second cohort of SNI rats were scanned while anesthetized during the tracer uptake period, and the S1 hindlimb increase was not observed. Increased brain activity in the somatosensory cortex of SNI rats resembled the activity produced with the injection of formalin, suggesting that the SNI model may produce persistent pain. The lack of increased activity in S1 hindlimb with general anesthetic demonstrates that this effect can be blocked, as well as highlights the importance of investigating brain activity in awake and behaving rodents.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.01.020
PMCID: PMC3965588  PMID: 24462776
microPET; FDG; Neuropathic pain; Spared Nerve Injury; Formalin Model
10.  An Improved Antagonist Radiotracer for the Kappa Opioid Receptor: Synthesis and Characterization of 11C-LY2459989 
The kappa opioid receptors (KOR) are implicated in a number of neuropsychiatric diseases and addictive disorders. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with radioligands provides a means to image the KOR in vivo and investigate its function in health and disease. The purpose of this study was to develop the selective KOR antagonist 11C-LY2459989 as a PET radioligand and characterize its imaging performance in non-human primates.
Methods
LY2459989 was synthesized and assayed for in vitro binding to opioid receptors. Ex vivo studies in rodents were conducted to assess its potential as a tracer candidate. 11C-LY2459989 was synthesized by reaction of its iodophenyl precursor with 11C-cyanide followed by partial hydrolysis of the resulting 11C-cyanophenyl intermediate. Imaging experiments with 11C-LY2459989 were carried out in rhesus monkeys with arterial input function measurement. Imaging data were analyzed with kinetic models to derive in vivo binding parameters.
Results
LY2459989 is a full antagonist with high binding affinity and selectivity for KOR (Ki = 0.18, 7.68, and 91.3 nM, respectively, for κ, μ, and δ receptors). Ex vivo studies in rats indicated LY2459989 as an appropriate tracer candidate with high specific binding signals, and confirmed its KOR binding selectivity in vivo. 11C-LY2459989 was synthesized in high radiochemical purity and good specific activity. In rhesus monkeys, 11C-LY2459989 displayed a fast rate of peripheral metabolism. Similarly, 11C-LY2459989 displayed fast uptake kinetics in the brain and an uptake pattern consistent with the distribution of KOR in primates. Pretreatment with naloxone (1 mg/kg, i.v.) resulted in a uniform distribution of radioactivity in the brain. Further, specific binding of 11C-LY2459989 was dose-dependently reduced by the selective KOR antagonist LY2456302 and the unlabeled LY2459989. Regional binding potential (BPND) values derived from the multilinear analysis method (MA1), as a measure of in vivo specific binding signal, were 2.18, 1.39, 1.08, 1.04, 1.03, 0.59, 0.51, 0.50, respectively, for the globus pallidus, cingulate cortex, insula, caudate, putamen, frontal cortex, temporal cortex, and thalamus.
Conclusion
The novel PET radioligand 11C-LY2459989 displayed favorable pharmacokinetic properties, specific and KOR-selective binding profile, and high specific binding signals in vivo, thus making it a promising PET imaging agent for KOR.
doi:10.2967/jnumed.114.138701
PMCID: PMC4826283  PMID: 24854795
Kappa opioid receptor; Antagonist; PET; Radioligand; Synthesis and Evaluation
11.  Investigation of the Metabolites of (S,S)-[11C] MeNER in Humans, Monkeys and Rats 
Introduction
(S,S)-[11C]MeNER ((S,S)-2-(α-(2-[11C]methoxyphenoxy)benzyl)morpholine) is a positron emission tomography (PET) radioligand recently applied in clinical studies of norepinephrine transporters (NETs) in the human brain in vivo. In view of further assessment of the suitability of (S,S)-[11C]MeNER as a NET radioligand, its metabolism and the identity of the in vivo radiometabolites of (S,S)-[11C]MeNER are of great interest.
Materials and Methods
Thus, PET studies were used to measure brain dynamics of (S,S)-[11C] MeNER, and plasma reverse-phase radiochromatographic analysis was performed to monitor and quantify its rate of metabolism. Eighteen healthy human volunteers, five cynomolgus monkeys, and five rats were studied.
Results and Discussion
In human subjects, the plasma radioactivity representing (S,S)-[11C] MeNER decreased from 88±5% at 4 min after injection to 82±7% at 40 min, while a polar radiometabolite increased from 3±3% to 16±7% at the same time-points, respectively. A more lipophilic radiometabolite than (S,S)-[11C]MeNER decreased from 9±5% at 4 min to 1±2% at 40 min. In monkeys, plasma radioactivity representing (S,S)-[11C]MeNER decreased from 97±2% at 4 min to 74±7% at 45 min, with a polar fraction as the major radiometabolite. A more lipophilic radiometabolite than (S,S)-[11C]MeNER, constituted 3±2% of radioactivity at 4 min and was not detectable later on. In rats, 17±4% of plasma radioactivity was parent radioligand at 30 min with the remainder comprising mainly a polar radiometabolite. (S,S)-[11C]MeNER in rat brain and urine at 30 min after injection were 90% and 4%, respectively. On a brain regional level, parent radioligand ranged from 87.5±3.9% (57.2±14.2% SUV [standard uptake values, % injected radioactivity per mL multiplied with animal weight (in g)]; cerebellum) to 92.9±1.8% (36.1±4.7% SUV; striatum), with differential distribution of the radiometabolite in the cerebellum (6.7±0.3% SUV) and the striatum (2.5±0.3% SUV). Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of rat urine identified a hydroxylation product of the methoxyphenoxy ring of (S,S)-MeNER as the main metabolite. In the brain, the corresponding main metabolite was the product from O-de-methylation of (S,S)-MeNER. PET measurements were performed in rats as well as in wild-type and P-gp-knock-out mice. In rats, the brain peak level of radioactivity was found to be very low (65%SUV). In mice, there was only a small difference in peak brain accumulation between P-gp knock-out and wild-type mice (145 vs. 125%SUV) with the following rank order of regional brain radioactivity: cerebellum × thalamus > cortical regions > striatum.
Conclusion
It can be concluded that radiometabolites of (S,S)-[11C]MeNER are of minor importance in rat and monkey brain imaging. The presence of a transient lipophilic radiometabolite in peripheral human plasma may induce complications with brain imaging, but its kinetics appear favorable in relation to the slow kinetics of (S,S)-[11C]MeNER in humans.
doi:10.1007/s11307-008-0175-y
PMCID: PMC2789463  PMID: 18800204
MeNER; Metabolism; PET
12.  Maturation of metabolic connectivity of the adolescent rat brain 
eLife  null;4:e11571.
Neuroimaging has been used to examine developmental changes of the brain. While PET studies revealed maturation-related changes, maturation of metabolic connectivity of the brain is not yet understood. Here, we show that rat brain metabolism is reconfigured to achieve long-distance connections with higher energy efficiency during maturation. Metabolism increased in anterior cerebrum and decreased in thalamus and cerebellum during maturation. When functional covariance patterns of PET images were examined, metabolic networks including default mode network (DMN) were extracted. Connectivity increased between the anterior and posterior parts of DMN and sensory-motor cortices during maturation. Energy efficiency, a ratio of connectivity strength to metabolism of a region, increased in medial prefrontal and retrosplenial cortices. Our data revealed that metabolic networks mature to increase metabolic connections and establish its efficiency between large-scale spatial components from childhood to early adulthood. Neurodevelopmental diseases might be understood by abnormal reconfiguration of metabolic connectivity and efficiency.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.11571.001
eLife digest
The brain consumes a great deal of a sugar called glucose, which is delivered to the brain through blood vessels. Active regions of the brain need more glucose, and so the brain has a metabolic network that controls when and where glucose is metabolized. Yet precisely how this metabolic network changes during brain development is not yet understood.
Choi et al. have now monitored the patterns of glucose metabolism in the brains of awake rats as they matured from 'childhood' to early adulthood. The experiments involved injecting the rats with radioactive glucose, and then using a technique called positron emission tomography (commonly known as 'PET scan') to monitor the metabolism of these radioactive sugar molecules in the animals’ brains.
Choi et al. showed that the patterns of glucose consumption in the brain shift drastically as the rats mature. Importantly, the findings showed that these shifts in glucose metabolism seem to support the activity of long distance connections that develop as the brain matures. The findings also showed that the increased long distance connections were energy efficient. The results suggest that these metabolic changes are likely a way of maintaining high-energy efficiency that is crucial for the brain to perform normally.
Finally, in addition to revealing the changes involved in normal brain development, these findings may have implications in neurological and psychiatric disorders in which the brain fails to achieve efficient metabolic networks as it matures.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.11571.002
doi:10.7554/eLife.11571
PMCID: PMC4718811  PMID: 26613413
FDG PET; metabolic connectivity; brain maturation; resting-state network; adolescent; energy efficiency; Rat
13.  Diverging longitudinal changes in astrocytosis and amyloid PET in autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease 
Brain  2016;139(3):922-936.
See Schott and Fox (doi:10.1093/brain/awv405) for a scientific commentary on this article.
The relationships between pathophysiological processes in Alzheimer’s disease remain largely unclear. In a longitudinal, multitracer PET study, Rodriguez-Vieitez et al. reveal that progression of autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease is accompanied by prominent early and then declining astrocytosis, increasing amyloid plaque deposition and decreasing glucose metabolism. Astrocyte activation may initiate Alzheimer pathology.
See Schott and Fox (doi:10.1093/brain/awv405) for a scientific commentary on this article.The relationships between pathophysiological processes in Alzheimer’s disease remain largely unclear. In a longitudinal, multitracer PET study, Rodriguez-Vieitez et al. reveal that progression of autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease is accompanied by prominent early and then declining astrocytosis, increasing amyloid plaque deposition and decreasing glucose metabolism. Astrocyte activation may initiate Alzheimer pathology.
See Schott and Fox (doi:10.1093/brain/awv405) for a scientific commentary on this article.
Alzheimer’s disease is a multifactorial dementia disorder characterized by early amyloid-β, tau deposition, glial activation and neurodegeneration, where the interrelationships between the different pathophysiological events are not yet well characterized. In this study, longitudinal multitracer positron emission tomography imaging of individuals with autosomal dominant or sporadic Alzheimer’s disease was used to quantify the changes in regional distribution of brain astrocytosis (tracer 11C-deuterium-L-deprenyl), fibrillar amyloid-β plaque deposition (11C-Pittsburgh compound B), and glucose metabolism (18F-fluorodeoxyglucose) from early presymptomatic stages over an extended period to clinical symptoms. The 52 baseline participants comprised autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease mutation carriers (n = 11; 49.6 ± 10.3 years old) and non-carriers (n = 16; 51.1 ± 14.2 years old; 10 male), and patients with sporadic mild cognitive impairment (n = 17; 61.9 ± 6.4 years old; nine male) and sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (n = 8; 63.0 ± 6.5 years old; five male); for confidentiality reasons, the gender of mutation carriers is not revealed. The autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease participants belonged to families with known mutations in either presenilin 1 (PSEN1) or amyloid precursor protein (APPswe or APParc) genes. Sporadic mild cognitive impairment patients were further divided into 11C-Pittsburgh compound B-positive (n = 13; 62.0 ± 6.4; seven male) and 11C-Pittsburgh compound B-negative (n = 4; 61.8 ± 7.5 years old; two male) groups using a neocortical standardized uptake value ratio cut-off value of 1.41, which was calculated with respect to the cerebellar grey matter. All baseline participants underwent multitracer positron emission tomography scans, cerebrospinal fluid biomarker analysis and neuropsychological assessment. Twenty-six of the participants underwent clinical and imaging follow-up examinations after 2.8 ± 0.6 years. By using linear mixed-effects models, fibrillar amyloid-β plaque deposition was first observed in the striatum of presymptomatic autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease carriers from 17 years before expected symptom onset; at about the same time, astrocytosis was significantly elevated and then steadily declined. Diverging from the astrocytosis pattern, amyloid-β plaque deposition increased with disease progression. Glucose metabolism steadily declined from 10 years after initial amyloid-β plaque deposition. Patients with sporadic mild cognitive impairment who were 11C-Pittsburgh compound B-positive at baseline showed increasing amyloid-β plaque deposition and decreasing glucose metabolism but, in contrast to autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease carriers, there was no significant longitudinal decline in astrocytosis over time. The prominent initially high and then declining astrocytosis in autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease carriers, contrasting with the increasing amyloid-β plaque load during disease progression, suggests astrocyte activation is implicated in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.
doi:10.1093/brain/awv404
PMCID: PMC4766380  PMID: 26813969
astrocytosis; autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease; 11C-deuterium-L-deprenyl; 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose; 11C-Pittsburgh compound B
14.  Characterization of fast-decaying PET radiotracers solely through LC-MS/MS of constituent radioactive and carrier isotopologues 
EJNMMI Research  2013;3:3.
Background
The characterization of fast-decaying radiotracers that are labeled with carbon-11 (t1/2 = 20.38 min), including critical measurement of specific radioactivity (activity per mole at a specific time) before release for use in positron-emission tomography (PET), has relied heavily on chromatographic plus radiometric measurements, each of which may be vulnerable to significant errors. Thus, we aimed to develop a mass-specific detection method using sensitive liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) for identifying 11C-labeled tracers and for verifying their specific radioactivities.
Methods
The LC-MS/MS was tuned and set up with methods to generate and measure the product ions specific for carbon-11 species and M + 1 carrier (predominantly the carbon-13 isotopologue) in four 11C-labeled tracers. These radiotracers were synthesized and then analyzed before extensive carbon-11 decay. The peak areas of carbon-11 species and M + 1 carrier from the LC-MS/MS measurement and the calculated abundances of carbon-12 carrier and M + 1 radioactive species gave the mole fraction of carbon-11 species in each sample. This value upon multiplication with the theoretical specific radioactivity of carbon-11 gave the specific radioactivity of the radiotracer.
Results
LC-MS/MS of each 11C-labeled tracer generated the product ion peaks for carbon-11 species and M + 1 carrier at the expected LC retention time. The intensity of the radioactive peak diminished as time elapsed and was undetectable after six half-lives of carbon-11. Measurements of radiotracer-specific radioactivity determined solely by LC-MS/MS at timed intervals gave a half-life for carbon-11 (20.43 min) in excellent agreement with the value obtained radiometrically. Additionally, the LC-MS/MS measurement gave specific radioactivity values (83 to 505 GBq/μmol) in good agreement with those from conventional radiometric methods.
Conclusions
11C-Labeled tracers were characterized at a fundamental level involving isolation and mass detection of extremely low-abundance carbon-11 species along with the M + 1 carrier counterpart. This LC-MS/MS method for characterizing fast-decaying radiotracers is valuable in both the development and production of PET radiopharmaceuticals.
doi:10.1186/2191-219X-3-3
PMCID: PMC3570351  PMID: 23311872
PET radiotracers; Carbon-11; Specific radioactivity; LC-MS/MS
15.  Feasibility of [18F]-2-Fluoro-A85380-PET Imaging of Human Vascular Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors In Vivo 
JACC. Cardiovascular imaging  2012;5(5):528-536.
OBJECTIVES
The aim of this feasibility study was to evaluate [18F]-2-Fluoro-A85380 for in vivo imaging of arterial nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in humans. Furthermore, potentially different vascular uptake patterns of this new tracer were evaluated in healthy volunteers and in patients with neurodegenerative disorders.
BACKGROUND
[18F]-2-Fluoro-A85380 was developed for in vivo positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of nAChR subunits in the human brain. These nAChRs are also found in arteries and seem to mediate the deleterious effects of nicotine as a part of tobacco smoke in the vasculature. It has been previously shown that uptake patterns of the radiotracer in the brain differs in patients with neurodegenerative disorders compared with healthy controls.
METHODS
[18F]-2-Fluoro-A85380 uptake was quantified in the ascending and descending aorta, the aortic arch, and the carotids in 5 healthy volunteers and in 6 patients with either Parkinson’s disease or multiple system atrophy, respectively, as the maximum target-to-background ratio. The maximal standardized uptake value values, the single hottest segment, and the percent active segments of the [18F]-2-Fluoro-A85380 uptake in the arteries were also assessed.
RESULTS
[18F]-2-Fluoro-A85380 uptake was clearly visualized and maximum target-to-background ratio uptake values corrected for the background activity of the tracer showed specific tracer uptake in the arterial walls. Significantly higher uptake values were found in the descending aorta. Comparison between volunteers and patients revealed significant differences, with lower [18F]-2-Fluoro-A85380 uptake in the patient group when comparing single arterial territories but not when all arterial territories were pooled together.
CONCLUSIONS
[18F]-2-Fluoro-A85380 can provide specific information on the nAChR distribution in human arteries. Vascular nAChR density seems to be lower in patients with Parkinson’s disease or multiple system atrophy. Once confirmed in larger study populations and in the experimental setting, this approach might provide insights into the pathogenic role of nAChRs in the human vasculature.
doi:10.1016/j.jcmg.2011.11.024
PMCID: PMC3623271  PMID: 22595161
arteries; multiple system atrophy; nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; Parkinson’s disease; positron emission tomography
16.  A new compartmental method for the analysis of liver FDG kinetics in small animal models 
EJNMMI Research  2015;5:35.
Background
Compartmental analysis is a standard method to quantify metabolic processes using fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET). For liver studies, this analysis is complex due to the hepatocyte capability to dephosphorylate and release glucose and FDG into the blood. Moreover, a tracer is supplied to the liver by both the hepatic artery and the portal vein, which is not visible in PET images. This study developed an innovative computational approach accounting for the reversible nature of FDG in the liver and directly computing the portal vein tracer concentration by means of gut radioactivity measurements.
Methods
Twenty-one mice were subdivided into three groups: the control group ‘CTR’ (n = 7) received no treatment, the short-term starvation group ‘STS’ (n = 7) was submitted to food deprivation with free access to water within 48 h before imaging, and the metformin group ‘MTF’ (n = 7) was treated with metformin (750 mg/Kg per day) for 1 month. All mice underwent a dynamic micro-PET study for 50 min after an 18F-FDG injection. The compartmental analysis considered two FDG pools (phosphorylated and free) in both the gut and liver. A tracer was carried into the liver by the hepatic artery and the portal vein, and tracer delivery from the gut was considered as the sole input for portal vein tracer concentration. Accordingly, both the liver and gut were characterized by two compartments and two exchange coefficients. Each one of the two two-compartment models was mathematically described by a system of differential equations, and data optimization was performed by applying a Newton algorithm to the inverse problems associated to these differential systems.
Results
All rate constants were stable in each group. The tracer coefficient from the free to the metabolized compartment in the liver was increased by STS, while it was unaltered by MTF. By contrast, the tracer coefficient from the metabolized to the free compartment was reduced by MTF and increased by STS.
Conclusions
Data demonstrated that our method was able to analyze FDG kinetics under pharmacological or pathophysiological stimulation, quantifying the fraction of the tracer trapped in the liver or dephosphorylated and released into the bloodstream.
doi:10.1186/s13550-015-0107-1
PMCID: PMC4469683  PMID: 26077542
Compartmental analysis; Liver physiology; Dual input; FDG-PET; Metformin
17.  Nucleophilic radiosynthesis of 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-galactose from Talose triflate and biodistribution in a porcine model☆ 
Nuclear medicine and biology  2011;38(4):477-483.
Introduction
The galactose analogue 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-galactose (FDGal) is a promising positron emission tomography (PET) tracer for studies of regional differences in liver metabolic function and for clinical evaluation of patients with liver cirrhosis and patients undergoing treatment of liver diseases. However, there is an unmet need for routine production of FDGal from readily available starting material. In this study, we present the preparation of FDGal with high radiochemical purity and in amounts sufficient for clinical investigations from commercially available Talose triflate (1,3,4,6-tetra-O-acetyl-2-O-trifluoromethanesulfonyl-β-D-talopyranose). In addition, the biodistribution of FDGal in the pig is presented.
Methods
FDGal was prepared by nucleophilic fluorination of Talose triflate followed by basic hydrolysis. The entire synthesis was performed using the GE TRACERlab MX 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) synthesizer and existing methods for quality control of FDG were applied. Biodistribution of FDGal was studied by successive whole-body PET recordings of two anaesthetized 37-kg pigs.
Results
Up to 3.7 GBq sterile, pyrogen-free and no-carrier-added FDGal was produced with a radiochemical yield of 3.8±1.2% and a radiochemical purity of 98±1% (42 productions; yield is decay corrected). The adopted quality control methods for FDG were directly applicable for FDGal. Biodistribution studies in the pig revealed the liver and the urinary bladder as critical organs in terms of radiation dose.
Conclusion
Commercially available Talose triflate is a suitable starting material for routine productions of FDGal. The presented radiosynthesis and quality control methods allow for the production of pure, no-carrier-added FDGal in sufficient amounts for clinical PET-investigations of the liver.
doi:10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2010.11.006
PMCID: PMC3131089  PMID: 21531284
Radiopharmaceutical; Galactose; Positron emission tomography; Nuclear hepatology; Liver metabolism
18.  Molecular imaging of movement disorders 
World Journal of Radiology  2016;8(3):226-239.
Positron emission tomography measures the activity of radioactively labeled compounds which distribute and accumulate in central nervous system regions in proportion to their metabolic rate or blood flow. Specific circuits such as the dopaminergic nigrostriatal projection can be studied with ligands that bind to the pre-synaptic dopamine transporter or post-synaptic dopamine receptors (D1 and D2). Single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) measures the activity of similar tracers labeled with heavy radioactive species such as technetium and iodine. In essential tremor, there is cerebellar hypermetabolism and abnormal GABAergic function in premotor cortices, dentate nuclei and ventral thalami, without significant abnormalities in dopaminergic transmission. In Huntington’s disease, there is hypometabolism in the striatum, frontal and temporal cortices. Disease progression is accompanied by reduction in striatal D1 and D2 binding that correlates with trinucleotide repeat length, disease duration and severity. In dystonia, there is hypermetabolism in the basal ganglia, supplementary motor areas and cerebellum at rest. Thalamic and cerebellar hypermetabolism is seen during dystonic movements, which can be modulated by globus pallidus deep brain stimulation (DBS). Additionally, GABA-A receptor activity is reduced in motor, premotor and somatosensory cortices. In Tourette’s syndrome, there is hypermetabolism in premotor and sensorimotor cortices, as well as hypometabolism in the striatum, thalamus and limbic regions at rest. During tics, multiple areas related to cognitive, sensory and motor functions become hypermetabolic. Also, there is abnormal serotoninergic transmission in prefrontal cortices and bilateral thalami, as well as hyperactivity in the striatal dopaminergic system which can be modulated with thalamic DBS. In Parkinson’s disease (PD), there is asymmetric progressive decline in striatal dopaminergic tracer accumulation, which follows a caudal-to-rostral direction. Uptake declines prior to symptom presentation and progresses from contralateral to the most symptomatic side to bilateral, correlating with symptom severity. In progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and multiple system atrophy (MSA), striatal activity is symmetrically and diffusely decreased. The caudal-to-rostral pattern is lost in PSP, but could be present in MSA. In corticobasal degeneration (CBD), there is asymmetric, diffuse reduction of striatal activity, contralateral to the most symptomatic side. Additionally, there is hypometabolism in contralateral parieto-occipital and frontal cortices in PD; bilateral putamen and cerebellum in MSA; caudate, thalamus, midbrain, mesial frontal and prefrontal cortices in PSP; and contralateral cortices in CBD. Finally, cardiac sympathetic SPECT signal is decreased in PD. The capacity of molecular imaging to provide in vivo time courses of gene expression, protein synthesis, receptor and transporter binding, could facilitate the development and evaluation of novel medical, surgical and genetic therapies in movement disorders.
doi:10.4329/wjr.v8.i3.226
PMCID: PMC4807332  PMID: 27029029
Positron emission tomography; Single photon emission computerized tomography; Movement disorders; Essential tremor; Huntington’s disease; Dystonia; Tourette’s syndrome; Parkinson’s disease; Parkinsonism
19.  Glucagon-like peptide-1 decreases intracerebral glucose content by activating hexokinase and changing glucose clearance during hyperglycemia 
Type 2 diabetes and hyperglycemia with the resulting increase of glucose concentrations in the brain impair the outcome of ischemic stroke, and may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). Reports indicate that glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) may be neuroprotective in models of AD and stroke: Although the mechanism is unclear, glucose homeostasis appears to be important. We conducted a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled crossover study in nine healthy males. Positron emission tomography was used to determine the effect of GLP-1 on cerebral glucose transport and metabolism during a hyperglycemic clamp with 18fluoro-deoxy-glucose as tracer. Glucagon-like peptide-1 lowered brain glucose (P=0.023) in all regions. The cerebral metabolic rate for glucose was increased everywhere (P=0.039) but not to the same extent in all regions (P=0.022). The unidirectional glucose transfer across the blood–brain barrier remained unchanged (P=0.099) in all regions, while the unidirectional clearance and the phosphorylation rate increased (P=0.013 and 0.017), leading to increased net clearance of the glucose tracer (P=0.006). We show that GLP-1 plays a role in a regulatory mechanism involved in the actions of GLUT1 and glucose metabolism: GLP-1 ensures less fluctuation of brain glucose levels in response to alterations in plasma glucose, which may prove to be neuroprotective during hyperglycemia.
doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2012.118
PMCID: PMC3519409  PMID: 22929437
blood–brain barrier; 2-deoxy-glucose; diabetes; energy metabolism; GLP-1; glucagon-like peptide-1; glucose; pharmacology
20.  Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) raises blood-brain glucose transfer capacity and hexokinase activity in human brain 
In hyperglycemia, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) lowers brain glucose concentration together with increased net blood-brain clearance and brain metabolism, but it is not known whether this effect depends on the prevailing plasma glucose (PG) concentration. In hypoglycemia, glucose depletion potentially impairs brain function. Here, we test the hypothesis that GLP-1 exacerbates the effect of hypoglycemia. To test the hypothesis, we determined glucose transport and consumption rates in seven healthy men in a randomized, double-blinded placebo-controlled cross-over experimental design. The acute effect of GLP-1 on glucose transfer in the brain was measured by positron emission tomography (PET) during a hypoglycemic clamp (3 mM plasma glucose) with 18F-fluoro-2-deoxy-glucose (FDG) as tracer of glucose. In addition, we jointly analyzed cerebrometabolic effects of GLP-1 from the present hypoglycemia study and our previous hyperglycemia study to estimate the Michaelis-Menten constants of glucose transport and metabolism. The GLP-1 treatment lowered the vascular volume of brain tissue. Loading data from hypo- to hyperglycemia into the Michaelis-Menten equation, we found increased maximum phosphorylation velocity (Vmax) in the gray matter regions of cerebral cortex, thalamus, and cerebellum, as well as increased blood-brain glucose transport capacity (Tmax) in gray matter, white matter, cortex, thalamus, and cerebellum. In hypoglycemia, GLP-1 had no effects on net glucose metabolism, brain glucose concentration, or blood-brain glucose transport. Neither hexokinase nor transporter affinities varied significantly with treatment in any region. We conclude that GLP-1 changes blood-brain glucose transfer and brain glucose metabolic rates in a PG concentration-dependent manner. One consequence is that hypoglycemia eliminates these effects of GLP-1 on brain glucose homeostasis.
doi:10.3389/fnene.2013.00002
PMCID: PMC3608902  PMID: 23543638
glucagon-like peptide -1; hypoglycemia; hyperglycemia; blood-brain barrier; cerebral metabolic rate for glucose; Michaelis-Menten; cerebral glucose transport
21.  Preclinical evaluation of carbon-11 and fluorine-18 sulfonamide derivatives for in vivo radiolabeling of erythrocytes 
EJNMMI Research  2013;3:4.
Background
To date, few PET tracers for in vivo labeling of red blood cells (RBCs) are available. In this study, we report the radiosynthesis and in vitro and in vivo evaluation of 11C and 18F sulfonamide derivatives targeting carbonic anhydrase II (CA II), a metallo-enzyme expressed in RBCs, as potential blood pool tracers. A proof-of-concept in vivo imaging study was performed to demonstrate the feasibility to assess cardiac function and volumes using electrocardiogram (ECG)-gated positron emission tomography (PET) acquisition in comparison with cine magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI) in rats and a pig model of myocardial infarction.
Methods
The inhibition constants (Ki) of CA II were determined in vitro for the different compounds by assaying CA-catalyzed CO2 hydration activity. Binding to human RBCs was estimated after in vitro incubation of the compounds with whole blood. Biodistribution studies were performed to evaluate tracer kinetics in NMRI mice. ECG-gated PET acquisition was performed in Wistar rats at rest and during pharmacological stress by infusing dobutamine at 10 μg/kg/min and in a pig model of myocardial infarction. Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and volumes were compared with values from cMRI.
Results
The Ki of the investigated compounds for human CA II was found to be in the range of 8 to 422 nM. The fraction of radioactivity associated with RBCs was found to be ≥90% at 10- and 60-min incubation of tracers with heparinized human blood at room temperature for all tracers studied. Biodistribution studies in mice indicated that 30% to 67% of the injected dose was retained in the blood pool at 60 min post injection. A rapid and sustained tracer uptake in the heart region with an average standardized uptake value of 2.5 was observed from micro-PET images. The LVEF values obtained after pharmacological stress in rats closely matched between the cMRI and micro-PET values, whereas at rest, a larger variation between LVEF values obtained by both techniques was observed. In the pig model, a good agreement was observed between PET and MRI for quantification of left ventricular volumes and ejection fraction.
Conclusions
The 11C and 18F sulfonamide derivatives can be used for efficient in vivo radiolabeling of RBCs, and proof-of-concept in vivo imaging studies have shown the feasibility and potential of these novel tracers to assess cardiac function.
doi:10.1186/2191-219X-3-4
PMCID: PMC3561128  PMID: 23316861
Blood pool imaging; Carbonic anhydrases; PET tracers; Sulfonamides
22.  Synthesis and positron emission tomography studies of carbon-11-labeled imatinib (Gleevec) 
Nuclear medicine and biology  2007;34(2):153-163.
Introduction
Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) is a well known drug for treating chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Its active ingredient, imatinib ([4-[(4-methyl-1-piperazinyl)methyl]-N-[4-methyl-3-[[4-(3-pyridyl)-2-pyrimidinyl]amino]phenyl]benzamide), blocks the activity of several tyrosine kinases. Here we labeled imatinib with carbon-11 as a tool for determining the drug distribution and pharmacokinetics of imatinib, and we carried out positron emission tomography (PET) studies in baboons.
Methods
[N-11C-methyl]imatinib was synthesized from [11C]methyl iodide and norimatinib was synthesized by the demethylation of imatinib (isolated from Gleevec tablets) according to a patent procedure [Collins JM, Klecker RW Jr, Anderson LW. Imaging of drug accumulation as a guide to antitumor therapy. US Patent 20030198594A1, 2003]. Norimatinib was also synthesized from the corresponding amine and acid. PET studies were carried out in three baboons to measure pharmacokinetics in the brain and peripheral organs and to determine the effect of a therapeutic dose of imatinib. Log D and plasma protein binding were also measured.
Results
[N-11C-methyl]imatinib uptake in the brain is negligible (consistent with P-glycoprotein-mediated efflux); it peaks and clears rapidly from the heart, lungs and spleen. Peak uptake and clearance occur more slowly in the liver and kidneys, followed by accumulation in the gallbladder and urinary bladder. Pretreatment with imatinib did not change uptake in the heart, lungs, kidneys and spleen, and increased uptake in the liver and gallbladder.
Conclusions
[N-11C-methyl]imatinib has potential for assessing the regional distribution and kinetics of imatinib in the human body to determine whether the drug targets tumors and to identify other organs to which the drug or its labeled metabolites distribute. Paired with tracers such as 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose (18FDG) and 3′-deoxy-3′-[18F]fluorothymidine (18FLT), [N-11C-methyl]imatinib may be a useful radiotracer for planning chemotherapy, for monitoring response to treatment and for assessing the role of drug pharmacokinetics in drug resistance.
doi:10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2006.11.004
PMCID: PMC2866181  PMID: 17307123
Imatinib (Gleevec); PET; Carbon-11; Drug pharmacokinetics
23.  [11C]phenytoin revisited: synthesis by [11C]CO carbonylation and first evaluation as a P-gp tracer in rats 
EJNMMI Research  2012;2:36.
Background
At present, several positron emission tomography (PET) tracers are in use for imaging P-glycoprotein (P-gp) function in man. At baseline, substrate tracers such as R-[11C]verapamil display low brain concentrations with a distribution volume of around 1. [11C]phenytoin is supposed to be a weaker P-gp substrate, which may lead to higher brain concentrations at baseline. This could facilitate assessment of P-gp function when P-gp is upregulated. The purpose of this study was to synthesize [11C]phenytoin and to characterize its properties as a P-gp tracer.
Methods
[11C]CO was used to synthesize [11C]phenytoin by rhodium-mediated carbonylation. Metabolism and, using PET, brain pharmacokinetics of [11C]phenytoin were studied in rats. Effects of P-gp function on [11C]phenytoin uptake were assessed using predosing with tariquidar.
Results
[11C]phenytoin was synthesized via [11C]CO in an overall decay-corrected yield of 22 ± 4%. At 45 min after administration, 19% and 83% of radioactivity represented intact [11C]phenytoin in the plasma and brain, respectively. Compared with baseline, tariquidar predosing resulted in a 45% increase in the cerebral distribution volume of [11C]phenytoin.
Conclusions
Using [11C]CO, the radiosynthesis of [11C]phenytoin could be improved. [11C]phenytoin appeared to be a rather weak P-gp substrate.
doi:10.1186/2191-219X-2-36
PMCID: PMC3506555  PMID: 22747744
Phenytoin; PET; Tariquidar; Probenecid; [11C]CO; BBB; P-gp; [11C]CO2 purification
24.  Radiosynthesis and preclinical evaluation of [11C]prucalopride as a potential agonist PET ligand for the 5-HT4 receptor 
EJNMMI Research  2013;3:24.
Background
Serotonin 5-HT4 receptor (5-HT4-R) agonists are potential therapeutic agents for enterokinetic and cognitive disorders and are marketed for treatment of constipation. The aim of this study was to develop an agonist positron emission tomography (PET) ligand in order to label the active G-protein coupled 5-HT4-R in peripheral and central tissues. For this purpose prucalopride, a high-affinity selective 5-HT4-R agonist, was selected.
Methods
[11C]Prucalopride was synthesized from [11C]methyl triflate and desmethyl prucalopride, and its LogDoct,pH7.4 was determined. Three distinct studies were performed with administration of IV [11C]prucalopride in male rats: (1) The biodistribution of radioactivity was measured ex vivo; (2) the kinetics of radioactivity levels in brain regions and peripheral organs was assessed in vivo under baseline conditions and following pre-treatment with tariquidar, a P-glycoprotein efflux pump inhibitor; and (3) in vivo stability of [11C]prucalopride was checked ex vivo in plasma and brain extracts using high-performance liquid chromatography.
Results
[11C]Prucalopride was synthesized in optimised conditions with a yield of 21% ± 4% (decay corrected) and a radiochemical purity (>99%), its LogDoct,pH7.4 was 0.87. Ex vivo biodistribution studies with [11C]prucalopride in rats showed very low levels of radioactivity in brain (maximal 0.13% ID·g−1) and ten times higher levels in certain peripheral tissues. The PET studies confirmed very low brain levels of radioactivity under baseline conditions; however, it was increased three times after pre-treatment with tariquidar. [11C]Prucalopride was found to be very rapidly metabolised in rats, with no parent compound detectable in plasma and brain extracts at 5 and 30 min following IV administration. Analysis of levels of radioactivity in peripheral tissues revealed a distinct PET signal in the caecum, which was reduced following tariquidar pre-treatment. The latter is in line with the role of the P-glycoprotein pump in the gut.
Conclusion
[11C]Prucalopride demonstrated low radioactivity levels in rat brain; a combination of reasons may include rapid metabolism in the rat in particular, low passive diffusion and potential P-glycoprotein substrate. In humans, further investigation of [11C]prucalopride for imaging the active state of 5-HT4-R is worthwhile, in view of the therapeutic applications of 5-HT4 agonists for treatment of gastrointestinal motility disorders.
doi:10.1186/2191-219X-3-24
PMCID: PMC3623622  PMID: 23557209
[11C]Prucalopride; Radiosynthesis; 5-HT4 receptor; Agonist; G-protein coupled receptor; Rat; Biodistribution; PET imaging
25.  Comparison of Amino Acid Positron Emission Tomographic Radiotracers for Molecular Imaging of Primary and Metastatic Brain Tumors 
Molecular imaging  2014;13:10.2310/7290.2014.00015.
Positron emission tomography (PET) is an imaging technology that can detect and characterize tumors based on their molecular and biochemical properties, such as altered glucose, nucleoside, or amino acid metabolism. PET plays a significant role in the diagnosis, prognostication, and treatment of various cancers, including brain tumors. In this article, we compare uptake mechanisms and the clinical performance of the amino acid PET radiotracers (l-[methyl-11C]methionine [MET], 18F-fluoroethyl-tyrosine [FET], 18F-fluoro-l-dihydroxy-phenylalanine [FDOPA], and 11C-alpha-methyl-l-tryptophan [AMT]) most commonly used for brain tumor imaging. First, we discuss and compare the mechanisms of tumoral transport and accumulation, the basis of differential performance of these radioligands in clinical studies. Then we summarize studies that provided direct comparisons among these amino acid tracers and to clinically used 2-deoxy-2[18F]fluoro-d-glucose [FDG] PET imaging. We also discuss how tracer kinetic analysis can enhance the clinical information obtained from amino acid PET images. We discuss both similarities and differences in potential clinical value for each radioligand. This comparative review can guide which radiotracer to favor in future clinical trials aimed at defining the role of these molecular imaging modalities in the clinical management of brain tumor patients.
PMCID: PMC4199087  PMID: 24825818

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