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Yale J Biol Med. 2014 Mar 5;87(1):33-54. eCollection 2014.

How to design PET experiments to study neurochemistry: application to alcoholism.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut ; Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut ; Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut ; Yale PET Center, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
  • 2Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut ; Yale PET Center, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
  • 3Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut ; Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut ; Yale PET Center, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut ; Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut ; Yale PET Center, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Abstract

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) (and the related Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) is a powerful imaging tool with a molecular specificity and sensitivity that are unique among imaging modalities. PET excels in the study of neurochemistry in three ways: 1) It can detect and quantify neuroreceptor molecules; 2) it can detect and quantify changes in neurotransmitters; and 3) it can detect and quantify exogenous drugs delivered to the brain. To carry out any of these applications, the user must harness the power of kinetic modeling. Further, the quality of the information gained is only as good as the soundness of the experimental design. This article reviews the concepts behind the three main uses of PET, the rationale behind kinetic modeling of PET data, and some of the key considerations when planning a PET experiment. Finally, some examples of PET imaging related to the study of alcoholism are discussed and critiqued.

KEYWORDS:

alcohol; binding potential; dopamine release; imaging; occupancy; study design; tracer kinetics

PMID:
24600335
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3941463
Free PMC Article
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