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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2009 Jul;29(7):1317-31. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2009.52. Epub 2009 May 13.

Voxel-based estimation of kinetic model parameters of the L-[1-(11)C]leucine PET method for determination of regional rates of cerebral protein synthesis: validation and comparison with region-of-interest-based methods.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


We adapted and validated a basis function method (BFM) to estimate at the voxel level parameters of the kinetic model of the L-[1-(11)C]leucine positron emission tomography (PET) method and regional rates of cerebral protein synthesis (rCPS). In simulation at noise levels typical of voxel data, BFM yielded low-bias estimates of rCPS; in measured data, BFM and nonlinear least-squares parameter estimates were in good agreement. We also examined whether there are advantages to using voxel-level estimates averaged over regions of interest (ROIs) in place of estimates obtained by directly fitting ROI time-activity curves (TACs). In both simulated and measured data, fits of ROI TACs were poor, likely because of tissue heterogeneity not taken into account in the kinetic model. In simulation, rCPS determined from fitting ROI TACs was substantially overestimated and BFM-estimated rCPS averaged over all voxels in an ROI was slightly underestimated. In measured data, rCPS determined by regional averaging of voxel estimates was lower than rCPS determined from ROI TACs, consistent with simulation. In both simulated and measured data, intersubject variability of BFM-estimated rCPS averaged over all voxels in a ROI was low. We conclude that voxelwise estimation is preferable to fitting ROI TACs using a homogeneous tissue model.

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