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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 157923, 11 pages
Research Article

Evaluation of Inhibitory Effect of Recreational Drugs on Dopaminergic Terminal Neuron by PET and Whole-Body Autoradiography

1Department of Biomedical Imaging and Radiological Sciences, National Yang Ming University, Taipei 11221, Taiwan
2Department of Education and Research, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei 10341, Taiwan
3Biophotonic and Molecular Imaging Research Center, National Yang Ming University, Taipei 11221, Taiwan
4Division of Nuclear Medicine, Taipei City Hospital Zhongxiao Branch, Taipei 11556, Taiwan
5Department of Cancer Systems Imaging, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, TX, USA
6Molecular and Genetic Imaging Core/Taiwan Mouse Clinic, National Comprehensive Mouse Phenotyping and Drug Testing Center, Taipei 11533, Taiwan
7National PET/Cyclotron Center and Department of Nuclear Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei 11221, Taiwan
8Nuclear Medicine Department and PET-CT Center, Shuang Ho Hospital Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taipei Medical University, New Taipei City 23561, Taiwan
9Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 11221, Taiwan

Received 27 February 2014; Accepted 27 March 2014; Published 29 April 2014

Academic Editor: David J. Yang

Copyright © 2014 Skye Hsin-Hsien Yeh 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.


There is little investigation for the functional roles of peripheral dopamine. [18F]FDOPA has been used in cancer imaging (i.e., neuroendocrine and tumors pancreatic tumors) and neuroimaging (i.e., Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease). Here, we accessed side effects of recreational drugs such as ketamine, cocaine, and methamphetamine on dopamine neurons in peripheral organs by using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and quantitative whole-body autoradiography (QWBAR) with [18F]FDOPA. The images were applied for the measurement of specific binding ratios (SBRs) of striatum with the cerebellum as the reference region. Clear striatal [18F]FDOPA-derived radioactivity was observed. Moderate level of radiotracer accumulation was presented in the mucosal layers of the stomach and small intestine. The medulla layers of kidney had higher radioactivity than that of the cortex. Blocking images markedly eliminated the specific binding of [18F]FDOPA in the striatum and in peripheral organs such as stomachs, intestines, and kidney. Ketamine showed the highest inhibitory effect on striatal [18F]FDOPA-derived radioactivity followed by cocaine and methamphetamine. The current results demonstrated a useful crossing-validating tool that enhances the capability of [18F]FDOPA for further investigations of the alteration of dopaminergic neurons in the brain disorder or cancer diseases in peripheral tissues.