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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011, Article ID 439397, 11 pages
Review Article

The Role of Molecular Imaging in the Diagnosis and Management of Neuropsychiatric Disorders

1Institute of Nuclear Energy Research, Lungtan, Taoyuan 325, Taiwan
2Institute of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 112, Taiwan
3Department of Chemistry, Chung Yuan Christian University, Chung-Li 320, Taiwan

Received 27 December 2010; Accepted 15 February 2011

Academic Editor: David J. Yang

Copyright © 2011 Lie-Hang Shen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neuropsychiatric disorders are becoming a major socioeconomic burden to modern society. In recent years, a dramatic expansion of tools has facilitated the study of the molecular basis of neuropsychiatric disorders. Molecular imaging has enabled the noninvasive characterization and quantification of biological processes at the cellular, tissue, and organism levels in intact living subjects. This technology has revolutionized the practice of medicine and has become critical to quality health care. New advances in research on molecular imaging hold promise for personalized medicine in neuropsychiatric disorders, with adjusted therapeutic doses, predictable responses, reduced adverse drug reactions, early diagnosis, and personal health planning. In this paper, we discuss the development of radiotracers for imaging dopaminergic, serotonergic, and noradrenergic systems and β-amyloid plaques. We will underline the role of molecular imaging technologies in various neuropsychiatric disorders, describe their unique strengths and limitations, and suggest future directions in the diagnosis and management of neuropsychiatric disorders.