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Neuroimage. 2013 Mar;68:119-32. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.11.033. Epub 2012 Nov 30.

Mathematical modelling of [¹¹C]-(+)-PHNO human competition studies.

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GlaxoSmithKline Clinical Imaging Centre, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK.


The D(2)/D(3) agonist radioligand [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO is currently the most suitable D(3) imaging agent available, despite its limited selectivity for the D(3) over the D(2). Given the collocation of D(2) and D(3) receptors, and generally higher densities of D(2), the separation of D(2) and D(3) information from [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO PET data are somewhat complex. This complexity is compounded by recent data suggesting that [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO PET scans might be routinely performed in non-tracer conditions (with respect to D(3) receptors), and that the cerebellum (used as a reference region) might manifest some displaceable binding signal. Here we present the modelling and analysis of data from two human studies which employed an adequate dose range of selective D(3) antagonists (GSK598809 and GSK618334) to interrogate the [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO PET signal. Models describing the changes observed in the PET volume of distribution (V(T)) and binding potential (BP(ND)) were used to identify and quantify a [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO mass dose effect at the D(3), and displaceable signal in the cerebellum, as well as providing refined estimates of regional D(3) fractions of [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO BP(ND). The dose of (+)-PHNO required to occupy half of the available D(3) receptors (ED(50)(PHNO,D3)) was estimated as 40ng/kg, and the cerebellum BP(ND) was estimated as 0.40. These findings confirm that [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO human PET studies are in fact routinely performed under non-tracer conditions. This suggests that (+)-PHNO injection masses should be minimised and tightly controlled in order to mitigate the mass dose effect. The specific binding detected in the cerebellum was modest but could have a significant effect, for example on estimates of D(3) potency in drug occupancy studies. A range of methods for the analysis of future [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO data, incorporating models for the effects quantified here, were developed and evaluated. The comparisons and conclusions drawn from these can inform the design and analysis of future PET studies with [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO.

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