Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Glia. 2013 Jan;61(1):10-23. doi: 10.1002/glia.22357. Epub 2012 May 21.

Molecular imaging of microglia/macrophages in the brain.

Author information

  • 1Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.


Neuroinflammation perpetuates neuronal damage in many neurological disorders. Activation of resident microglia and infiltration of monocytes/macrophages contributes to neuronal injury and synaptic damage. Noninvasive imaging of these cells in vivo provides a means to monitor progression of disease as well as assess efficacies of potential therapeutics. This review provides an overview of positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of microglia/macrophages in the brain. We describe the rationale behind PET imaging of microglia/macrophages with ligands that bind to translocator protein-18 kDa (TSPO). We discuss the prototype TSPO radioligand [(11)C]PK11195, its limitations, and the development of newer TSPO ligands as PET imaging agents. PET imaging agents for targets other than TSPO are emerging, and we outline the potential of these agents for imaging brain microglia/macrophage activity in vivo. Finally, we briefly summarize advances in MR imaging of microglia/macrophages using iron oxide nanoparticles and ultra-small super paramagnetic particles that are phagocytosed. Despite many technical advances, more sensitive agents are required to be useful indicators of neuroinflammation in brain.

Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk