PET Neurochemical Imaging Modes

Semin Nucl Med. 2016 Jan;46(1):20-7. doi: 10.1053/j.semnuclmed.2015.09.001.


PET has deep roots in neuroscience stemming from its first application in brain tumor and brain metabolism imaging. PET emerged over the past few decades and continues to play a prominent role in the study of neurochemistry in the living human brain. Over time, neurochemical imaging with PET has been expanded to address a host of research questions related to, among many others, protein density, drug occupancy, and endogenous neurochemical release. Each of these imaging modes has distinct design and analysis considerations that are critical for enabling quantitative measurements. The number of considerations required for a neurochemical PET study can make it unapproachable. This article aims to orient those interested in neurochemical PET imaging to three of the common imaging modes and to provide some perspective on needs that exist for expansion of neurochemical PET imaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neurochemistry / methods*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Radioactive Tracers


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Proteins
  • Radioactive Tracers