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J Nucl Med. 2016 Jan;57(1):115-21. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.115.163683. Epub 2015 Oct 29.

In Vivo Evaluation of 11C-DASB for Quantitative SERT Imaging in Rats and Mice.

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Department of Preclinical Imaging and Radiopharmacy, Werner Siemens Imaging Center, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
Department of Preclinical Imaging and Radiopharmacy, Werner Siemens Imaging Center, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany


Serotonin, or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), plays a key role in the central nervous system and is involved in many essential neurologic processes such as mood, social behavior, and sleep. The serotonin transporter ligand (11)C-3-amino-4(2-dimethylaminomethyl-phenylsufanyl)-benzonitrile ((11)C-DASB) has been used to determine nondisplaceable binding potential (BPND), which is defined as the quotient of the available receptor density (Bavail) and the apparent equilibrium dissociation rate constant (1/appKD) under in vivo conditions. Because of the increasing number of animal models of human diseases, there is a pressing need to evaluate the applicability of (11)C-DASB to rats and mice. Here, we assessed the feasibility of using (11)C-DASB for quantification of serotonin transporter (SERT) density and affinity in vivo in rats and mice.


Rats and mice underwent 4 PET scans with increasing doses of the unlabeled ligand to calculate Bavail and appKD using the multiple-ligand concentration transporter assay. An additional PET scan was performed to calculate test-retest reproducibility and reliability. BPND was calculated using the simplified reference tissue model, and the results for different reference regions were compared.


Displaceable binding of (11)C-DASB was found in all brain regions of both rats and mice, with the highest binding being in the thalamus and the lowest in the cerebellum. In rats, displaceable binding was largely reduced in the cerebellar cortex, which in mice was spatially indistinguishable from cerebellar white matter. Use of the cerebellum with fully saturated binding sites as the reference region did not lead to reliable results. Test-retest reproducibility in the thalamus was more than 90% in both mice and rats. In rats, Bavail, appKD, and ED50 were 3.9 ± 0.4 pmol/mL, 2.2 ± 0.4 nM, and 12.0 ± 2.6 nmol/kg, respectively, whereas analysis of the mouse measurements resulted in inaccurate fits due to the high injected tracer mass.


Our data showed that in rats, (11)C-DASB can be used to quantify SERT density with good reproducibility. BPND agreed with the distribution of SERT in the rat brain. It remains difficult to estimate quantitative parameters accurately from mouse measurements because of the high injected tracer mass and underestimation of the binding parameters due to high displaceable binding in the reference region.


Bavail; KD; PET; SERT; [11C]DASB

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