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Q J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2017 Mar;61(1):60-75. doi: 10.23736/S1824-4785.16.02948-4. Epub 2016 Nov 18.

Molecular imaging of neuroinflammation in preclinical rodent models using positron emission tomography.

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Institute of Biostructure and Bioimaging, National Research Council, Naples, Italy.
CEINGE Scarl, Naples, Italy.
Department of Advanced Biomedical Sciences, University of Naples "Federico II", Naples, Italy.
Experimental Imaging Center, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.
Medicine and Surgery Department, University of Milano Bicocca, Milan, Italy.
Inserm U930, Université François Rabelais de Tours, Tours, France.
Institute of Biostructure and Bioimaging, National Research Council, Naples, Italy -


Neuroinflammation (NI) is an adaptive response to different noxious stimuli, involving microglia, astrocytes and peripheral immune cells. NI is a hallmark of several acute and chronic diseases of central nervous system (CNS) and contributes to both damage and repair of CNS tissue. Interventional or genetically modified rodent models mimicking human neuropathologies may provide valuable insights on basic mechanisms of NI, but also for improving the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. Preclinical positron emission tomography (PET) allows to investigate noninvasively the inflammatory response in CNS of rodent models at a molecular level, validating innovative probes for early diagnosis, and characterizing the time course of neuroinflammatory changes and their relationship with disease progression, as well as the effects of experimental treatments with high translational potential. In particular, recent efforts of preclinical PET field are intended to develop specific and selective radiotracers that target the activation of innate immune system in CNS. Here, we have reviewed the state of art for PET in relevant rodent models of acute and chronic neuropathologies associated with NI, with particular regard on imaging of activated microglia and astrocytes.

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