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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2015 Jun;42(7):1106-18. doi: 10.1007/s00259-015-3021-x. Epub 2015 Mar 13.

Evaluation of [(11)C]CB184 for imaging and quantification of TSPO overexpression in a rat model of herpes encephalitis.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB, Groningen, The Netherlands,



Evaluation of translocator protein (TSPO) overexpression is considered an attractive research tool for monitoring neuroinflammation in several neurological and psychiatric disorders. [(11)C]PK11195 PET imaging has been widely used for this purpose. However, it has a low sensitivity and a poor signal-to-noise ratio. For these reasons, [(11)C]CB184 was evaluated as a potentially more sensitive PET tracer.


A model of herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) was induced in male Wistar rats. On day 6 or 7 after virus inoculation, [(11)C]CB184 PET scans were acquired followed by ex vivo evaluation of biodistribution. In addition, [(11)C]CB184 and [(11)C]PK11195 PET scans with arterial blood sampling were acquired to generate input for pharmacokinetic modelling. Differences between the saline-treated control group and the virus-treated HSE group were explored using volumes of interest and voxel-based analysis.


The biodistribution study showed significantly higher [(11)C]CB184 uptake in the amygdala, olfactory bulb, medulla, pons and striatum (p < 0.05) in HSE rats than in control rats, and the voxel-based analysis showed higher bilateral uptake in the pons and medulla (p < 0.05, corrected at the cluster level). A high correlation was found between tracer uptake in the biodistribution study and on the PET scans (p < 0.001, r (2) = 0.71). Pretreatment with 5 mg/kg of unlabelled PK11195 effectively reduced (p < 0.001) [(11)C]CB184 uptake in the whole brain. Both, [(11)C]CB184 and [(11)C]PK11195, showed similar amounts of metabolites in plasma, and the binding potential (BPND) was not significantly different between the HSE rats and the control rats. In HSE rats BPND for [(11)C]CB184 was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the amygdala, hypothalamus, medulla, pons and septum than in control rats, whereas higher uptake of [(11)C]PK11195 was only detected in the medulla.


[(11)C]CB184 showed nonspecific binding to healthy tissue comparable to that observed for [(11)C]PK11195, but it displayed significantly higher specific binding in those brain regions affected by the HSE. Our results suggest that [(11)C]CB184 PET is a good alternative for imaging of neuroinflammatory processes.

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