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Neuroimage. 2013 Aug 15;77:125-32. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.03.027. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

5-HT1A sex based differences in Bmax, in vivo KD, and BPND in the nonhuman primate.

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Department of Medical Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53705, USA.


Serotonin (5-HT) dysfunction has been implicated in neuropsychiatric illnesses and may play a pivotal role in the differential prevalence of depression between the sexes. Previous PET studies have revealed sex-based differences in 5-HT1A binding potential (BPND). The binding potential is a function of the radioligand-receptor affinity (1/KDapp), and receptor density (Bmax). In this work, we use a multiple-injection (MI) PET protocol and the 5-HT1A receptor antagonist, [(18)F]mefway, to compare sex-based differences of in vivo affinity, Bmax, and BPND in rhesus monkeys.


PET [(18)F]mefway studies were performed on 17 (6m, 11f) rhesus monkeys using a 3-injection protocol that included partial saturation injections of mefway. Compartmental modeling was performed using a model to account for non-tracer doses of mefway for the estimation of KDapp and Bmax. BPND estimates were also acquired from the first injection (high specific activity [(18)F]mefway, 90-minute duration) for comparison using the cerebellum (CB) as a reference region. Regions of interest were selected in 5-HT1A binding regions of the hippocampus (Hp), dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), amygdala (Am), and raphe nuclei (RN).


Female subjects displayed significantly (*p<0.05) lower KDapp in the Hp (-32%), Am (-38%), and RN (-37%). Only the Hp displayed significant differences in Bmax with females having a Bmax of -29% compared to males. Male subjects demonstrated significantly lower BPND measurements in the Am (14%) and RN (29%).


These results suggest that the higher BPND values found in females are the result of lower [(18)F]mefway KDapp. Although a more experimentally complex measurement, separate assay of KDapp and Bmax provides a more sensitive measure than BPND to identify the underlying differences between females and males in 5-HT1A function.

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