Physics in medicine and biology

In vivo metabolism and partitioning of 6-[18F]fluoro-L-meta-tyrosine in whole blood: a unified compartment model.

PMID 12108778


Physiological quantification of dynamic PET data requires the determination of an input function, preferably from plasma. A compartmental model relating a parent radiotracer, its radiolabelled metabolites and their exchange between plasma and erythrocytes is presented. This model allows for the time course of radioactivity measured in whole blood to be transformed into the time course of the radiotracer in plasma. The utility of this approach is illustrated with blood data collected on 30 human subjects injected with 6-[18F]fluoro-L-meta-tyrosine (FmT), a pre-synaptic dopaminergic radiotracer. A three-compartment four-parameter model is shown to yield significantly better fits to the blood data than related lower and higher order models. This model is found to be robust to measurement noise, and yet sensitive to metabolic changes induced by pretreatment with carbidopa. For FmT, the between-subject variations are shown to be small enough to warrant the use of a population-based correction; tissue time-activity curves were simulated to verify that this correction does not significantly affect the precision and accuracy of the derived rate constants. The unified blood model can be adapted for radiotracers other than FmT as long as the blood partition ratio of the parent radiotracer differs from that of its metabolites and/or the rate at which they equilibrate between plasma and erythrocytes is different.

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