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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 237437, 7 pages
Review Article

Role of PET and SPECT in the Study of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

1Positron Emission Tomography Centre IRMET S.p.A., Euromedic Inc., V. O. Vigliani 89/A, 10136 Turin, Italy
2PET Pediatric AIMN InterGroup, V. O. Vigliani 89/A, 10136 Turin, Italy
3Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, National Research Council, Piazzale Aldo Moro 7, 00185 Rome, Italy
4Nuclear Medicine Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Internistic “F. Magrassi, A. Lanzara”, Seconda Università di Napoli, Vico Luigi de Crecchio 16, 80138 Naples, Italy
5Nuclear Medicine Unit, Department of Biomedical Sciences and of Morphological and Functional Images, University of Messina, Via Consolare Valeria 1, 98125 Messina, Italy
6Department of Nuclear Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, Solnavägen 1, Solna, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
7Department of Neuroradiology, San Giovanni Battista-OIRM-S.Anna-CTO Hospital, Via Cherasco 15, 10126 Turin, Italy

Received 5 February 2014; Accepted 13 March 2014; Published 10 April 2014

Academic Editor: Fan-Rong Liang

Copyright © 2014 Angelina Cistaro 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.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has been defined as a “heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative syndromes characterized by progressive muscle paralysis caused by the degeneration of motor neurons allocated in primary motor cortex, brainstem, and spinal cord.” A comprehensive diagnostic workup for ALS usually includes several electrodiagnostic, clinical laboratory and genetic tests. Neuroimaging exams, such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and spinal cord myelogram, may also be required. Nuclear medicine, with PET and SPECT, may also play a role in the evaluation of patients with ALS, and provide additional information to the clinicians. This paper aims to offer to the reader a comprehensive review of the different radiotracers for the assessment of the metabolism of glucose (FDG), the measurement of cerebral blood flow (CBF), or the evaluation of neurotransmitters, astrocytes, and microglia by means of newer and not yet clinically diffuse radiopharmaceuticals.