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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2007 Mar;27(3):606-17. Epub 2006 Jun 21.

Positron emission tomography displacement sensitivity: predicting binding potential change for positron emission tomography tracers based on their kinetic characteristics.

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Biomedical Engineering Department, Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


There is great interest in positron emission tomography (PET) as a noninvasive assay of fluctuations in synaptic neurotransmitter levels, but questions remain regarding the optimal choice of tracer for such a task. A mathematical method is proposed for predicting the utility of any PET tracer as a detector of changes in the concentration of an endogenous competitor via displacement of the tracer (a.k.a., its 'vulnerability' to competition). The method is based on earlier theoretical work by Endres and Carson and by the authors. A tracer-specific predictor, the PET Displacement Sensitivity (PDS), is calculated from compartmental model simulations of the uptake and retention of dopaminergic radiotracers in the presence of transient elevations of dopamine (DA). The PDS predicts the change in binding potential (DeltaBP) for a given change in receptor occupancy because of binding by the endogenous competitor. Simulations were performed using estimates of tracer kinetic parameters derived from the literature. For D(2)/D(3) tracers, the calculated PDS indices suggest a rank order for sensitivity to displacement by DA as follows: raclopride (highest sensitivity), followed by fallypride, FESP, FLB, NMSP, and epidepride (lowest). Although the PDS takes into account the affinity constant for the tracer at the binding site, its predictive value cannot be matched by either a single equilibrium constant, or by any one rate constant of the model. Values for DeltaBP have been derived from published studies that employed comparable displacement paradigms with amphetamine and a D(2)/D(3) tracer. The values are in good agreement with the PDS-predicted rank order of sensitivity to displacement.

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