Neurotransmitter Imaging: A Novel Frontier in Neuroimaging
Because of the lack of a reliable and sensitive method for detection of acute changes in neurotransmission, it is unclear how the neurotransmitters control human cognition and behavior. We recently developed a technique to detect, map and measure dopamine released acutely during cognitive and behavioral processing. The technique is called neurotransmitter imaging technique or single scan dynamic molecular imaging technique (SDMIT). It exploits the competition between dopamine and its receptor ligand for occupancy of receptor site. In this technique after patients are positioned in the positron emission tomography (PET) camera, a radio-labeled ligand is injected intravenously, and volunteers are asked to perform a cognitive or behavioral task while in the scanner. Based in the PET data acquired, dopamine released during a task performance in different brain areas is measured dynamically using a receptor kinetic model. The technique can be used to define the nature of dysregulated dopamine neurotransmission in psychiatric and neuropsychiatric conditions by comparing the data acquired in the patients with those acquired in healthy volunteers during performance of a similar task. This comparison also helps us understand whether dopamine neurotransmission is dysregulated and whether the dysregulation is responsible for clinical symptoms in these patients. Since this technique measures dopamine released under conditions of cognitive stress, it can detect dysregulation in neurotransmission even before appearance of clinical symptoms.
Published on: December 09, 2019
Citation: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Medical Imaging and Case Reports (MICR-2019). J Med Imaging Case Rep 3(Suppl 1): S1-S24.