, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 150-165
Date: 22 Nov 2012

Assessment of cardiac autonomic neuronal function using PET imaging

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Abstract

The autonomic nervous system is the primary extrinsic control of cardiac performance, and altered autonomic activity has been recognized as an important factor in the progression of various cardiac pathologies. Molecular imaging techniques have been developed for global and regional interrogation of pre- and postsynaptic targets of the cardiac autonomic nervous system. Building on established work with the guanethidine analogue 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) for single-photon emission tomography (SPECT), development of radiotracers and protocols for positron emission tomography (PET) investigation of autonomic signaling has expanded. PET is limited in availability and requires specialized centers for radiosynthesis and interpretation, but the higher resolution allows for improved regional analysis and kinetic modeling provides more true quantification than is possible with SPECT. A wider array of radiolabeled catecholamines, analogues of catecholamines, and receptor ligand