Extrastriatal binding of [¹²³I]FP-CIT in the thalamus and pons: gender and age dependencies assessed in a European multicentre database of healthy controls

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2014 Oct;41(10):1938-46. doi: 10.1007/s00259-014-2785-8. Epub 2014 May 8.


Purpose: Apart from binding to the dopamine transporter (DAT), [(123)I]FP-CIT shows moderate affinity for the serotonin transporter (SERT), allowing imaging of both monoamine transporters in a single imaging session in different brain areas. The aim of this study was to systematically evaluate extrastriatal binding (predominantly due to SERT) and its age and gender dependencies in a large cohort of healthy controls.

Methods: SPECT data from 103 healthy controls with well-defined criteria of normality acquired at 13 different imaging centres were analysed for extrastriatal binding using volumes of interest analysis for the thalamus and the pons. Data were examined for gender and age effects as well as for potential influence of striatal DAT radiotracer binding.

Results: Thalamic binding was significantly higher than pons binding. Partial correlations showed an influence of putaminal DAT binding on measured binding in the thalamus but not on the pons. Data showed high interindividual variation in extrastriatal binding. Significant gender effects with 31 % higher binding in women than in men were observed in the thalamus, but not in the pons. An age dependency with a decline per decade (±standard error) of 8.2 ± 1.3 % for the thalamus and 6.8 ± 2.9 % for the pons was shown.

Conclusion: The potential to evaluate extrastriatal predominant SERT binding in addition to the striatal DAT in a single imaging session was shown using a large database of [(123)I]FP-CIT scans in healthy controls. For both the thalamus and the pons, an age-related decline in radiotracer binding was observed. Gender effects were demonstrated for binding in the thalamus only. As a potential clinical application, the data could be used as a reference to estimate SERT occupancy in addition to nigrostriatal integrity when using [(123)I]FP-CIT for DAT imaging in patients treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neostriatum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pons / diagnostic imaging*
  • Protein Binding
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Sex Factors
  • Thalamus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Tropanes / pharmacokinetics*


  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Tropanes
  • 2-carbomethoxy-8-(3-fluoropropyl)-3-(4-iodophenyl)tropane