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Insights Imaging. 2012 Feb;3(1):111-9. doi: 10.1007/s13244-011-0128-x. Epub 2011 Oct 16.

Current paradigm of the 18-kDa translocator protein (TSPO) as a molecular target for PET imaging in neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases.

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CEA, I2BM, Service Hospitalier Frédéric Joliot, 4 place du Général Leclerc, 91401, Orsay, France,


Neuroinflammation is a process characterised by drastic changes in microglial morphology and by marked upregulation of the 18-kDa translocator protein (TSPO) on the mitochondria. The continual increase in incidence of neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases poses a major health issue in many countries, requiring more innovative diagnostic and monitoring tools. TSPO expression may constitute a biomarker for brain inflammation that could be monitored by using TSPO tracers as neuroimaging agents. From medical imaging perspectives, this review focuses on the current concepts related to the TSPO, and discusses briefly on the status of its PET imaging related to neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases in humans.

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