Introduction: [(18)F]fluoroethoxybenzovesamicol ([(18)F]FEOBV) is a PET radiotracer with high selectivity and specificity to the vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT). It has been shown to be a sensitive in vivo measurement of changes of cholinergic innervation densities following lesion of the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM) in rat. The current study used [(18)F]FEOBV with PET imaging to detect the effect of a highly selective lesion of the pedunculopontine (PPTg) nucleus in rat.
Methods: After bilateral and selective lesions of the PPTg cholinergic neurons, rats were scanned using [(18)F]FEOBV, then sacrificed, and their brain tissues collected for immunostaining and quantification of the VAChT.
Results: Comparisons with control rats revealed that cholinergic losses can be detected in the brainstem, lateral thalamus, and pallidum by using both in vivo imaging methods with [(18)F]FEOBV, and ex vivo measurements. In the brainstem PPTg area, significant correlations were observed between in vivo and ex vivo measurements, while this was not the case in the thalamic and pallidal projection sites.
Conclusions: These findings support PET imaging with [(18)F]FEOBV as a reliable in vivo method for the detection of neuronal terminal losses resulting from lesion of the PPTg. Useful applications can be found in the study of neurodegenerative diseases in human, such as Parkinson's disease, multiple system atrophy, progressive supranuclear palsy, or dementia with Lewy bodies.
Keywords: Acetylcholine; Immunocytochemistry; Pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg); Positron emission tomography (PET); Vesicular acetylcholine transporter; [(18)F]fluoroethoxybenzovesamicol ([(18)F]FEOBV).
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