Pancreatic beta cell mass PET imaging and quantification with [11C]DTBZ and [18F]FP-(+)-DTBZ in rodent models of diabetes

Mol Imaging Biol. 2011 Oct;13(5):973-84. doi: 10.1007/s11307-010-0406-x. Epub 2010 Sep 8.


Purpose: The aim of this study is to compare the utility of two positron emission tomography (PET) imaging ligands ((+)-[(11)C]dihydrotetrabenazine ([(11)C]DTBZ) and the fluoropropyl analog ([(18)F]FP-(+)-DTBZ)) that target islet β-cell vesicular monoamine transporter type II to measure pancreatic β-cell mass (BCM).

Procedures: [(11)C]DTBZ or [(18)F]FP-(+)-DTBZ was injected, and serial PET images were acquired in rat models of diabetes (streptozotocin-treated and Zucker diabetic fatty) and β-cell compensation (Zucker fatty). Radiotracer standardized uptake values (SUV) were correlated to pancreas insulin content measured biochemically and histomorphometrically.

Results: On a group level, a positive correlation of [(11)C]DTBZ pancreatic SUV with pancreas insulin content and BCM was observed. In the STZ diabetic model, both [(18)F]FP-(+)-DTBZ and [(11)C]DTBZ correlated positively with BCM, although only ∼25% of uptake could be attributed to β-cell uptake. [(18)F]FP-(+)-DTBZ displacement studies indicate that there is a substantial fraction of specific binding that is not to pancreatic islet β cells.

Conclusions: PET imaging with [(18)F]FP-(+)-DTBZ provides a noninvasive means to quantify insulin-positive BCM and may prove valuable as a diagnostic tool in assessing treatments to maintain or restore BCM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / diagnostic imaging*
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Zucker
  • Streptozocin


  • Insulin
  • Streptozocin