Purpose: Quantification of hepatic tracer kinetics by PET requires measurement of tracer input from the hepatic artery (HA) and portal vein (PV). We wished to develop a method for estimating dual tracer input without the necessity to sample PV blood.
Methods: Pigs weighing 40 kg were given bolus doses of C(15)O (CO), 2-[(18)F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG), [(11)C]-methylglucose (MG), 2-[(18)F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-galactose (FDGal) or H(2)(15)O(H(2)O). Tracer concentration 3-min time courses were measured in the femoral artery and PV by blood sampling. Blood flow was measured in the HA and PV using flow-meters. A model for transfer of tracer through the splanchnic circulation was used to estimate values of a tracer-specific model parameter β. Tracer-specific mean values of β were used to estimate tracer concentration time courses in the PV from the measured arterial concentration. A model-derived dual-input was calculated using the mean HA flow fraction (0.25) and validated by comparison of the use of the measured dual-input and a kinetic model with a fixed "true" K(1)(true), i.e. clearance of tracer from blood to liver cells.
Results: The rank order of the means of β was CO < FDG ≈ MG < FDGal < H(2)O, reflecting their different splanchnic mean transit times. Estimated K(1)(est) was not significantly different from "true" K(1)(true).
Conclusion: The hepatic dual tracer input, which is of great importance for the assessment of processes such as transfer across the plasma-hepatocyte membrane or hepatic blood perfusion, can be well approximated in pigs without the necessity to sample PV blood and measure hepatic blood flow; only arterial blood sampling is needed.