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Mol Imaging Biol. 2011 Oct;13(5):973-84. doi: 10.1007/s11307-010-0406-x. Epub 2010 Sep 8.

Pancreatic beta cell mass PET imaging and quantification with [11C]DTBZ and [18F]FP-(+)-DTBZ in rodent models of diabetes.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.



The aim of this study is to compare the utility of two positron emission tomography (PET) imaging ligands ((+)-[(11)C]dihydrotetrabenazine ([(11)C]DTBZ) and the fluoropropyl analog ([(18)F]FP-(+)-DTBZ)) that target islet β-cell vesicular monoamine transporter type II to measure pancreatic β-cell mass (BCM).


[(11)C]DTBZ or [(18)F]FP-(+)-DTBZ was injected, and serial PET images were acquired in rat models of diabetes (streptozotocin-treated and Zucker diabetic fatty) and β-cell compensation (Zucker fatty). Radiotracer standardized uptake values (SUV) were correlated to pancreas insulin content measured biochemically and histomorphometrically.


On a group level, a positive correlation of [(11)C]DTBZ pancreatic SUV with pancreas insulin content and BCM was observed. In the STZ diabetic model, both [(18)F]FP-(+)-DTBZ and [(11)C]DTBZ correlated positively with BCM, although only ∼25% of uptake could be attributed to β-cell uptake. [(18)F]FP-(+)-DTBZ displacement studies indicate that there is a substantial fraction of specific binding that is not to pancreatic islet β cells.


PET imaging with [(18)F]FP-(+)-DTBZ provides a noninvasive means to quantify insulin-positive BCM and may prove valuable as a diagnostic tool in assessing treatments to maintain or restore BCM.

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