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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1998 Nov;18(11):1196-210.

Assessment of dynamic neurotransmitter changes with bolus or infusion delivery of neuroreceptor ligands.

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  • 1Positron Emission Tomography Department, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1180, USA.


To describe the effect of endogenous dopamine on [11C]raclopride binding, we previously extended the conventional receptor ligand model to include dynamic changes in neurotransmitter concentration. Here, we apply the extended model in simulations of neurotransmitter competition studies using either bolus or bolus-plus-infusion (B/I) tracer delivery. The purpose of this study was (1) to develop an interpretation of the measured change in tracer binding in terms of underlying neurotransmitter changes, and (2) to determine tracer characteristics that maximize sensitivity to neurotransmitter release. A wide range of kinetic parameters was tested based on existing reversible positron emission tomography tracers. In simulations of bolus studies, the percent reduction in distribution volume (deltaV) caused by a neurotransmitter pulse was calculated. For B/I simulations, equilibrium was assumed, and the maximum percent reduction in tissue concentration (deltaC) after neurotransmitter release was calculated. Both deltaV and deltaC were strongly correlated with the integral of the neurotransmitter pulse. The values of deltaV and deltaC were highly dependent on the kinetic properties of the tracer in tissue, and deltaV could be characterized in terms of the tissue free tracer concentration. The value of deltaV was typically maximized for binding potentials of approximately 3 to 10, with deltaC being maximized at binding potentials of approximately 1 to 2. Both measures increased with faster tissue-to-blood clearance of tracer and lower nonspecific binding. These simulations provide a guideline for interpreting the results of neurotransmitter release studies and for selecting radiotracers and experimental design.

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