Radiopharmaceuticals for Skeletal Muscle PET Imaging

Int J Mol Sci. 2024 Apr 29;25(9):4860. doi: 10.3390/ijms25094860.


The skeletal muscles account for approximately 40% of the body weight and are crucial in movement, nutrient absorption, and energy metabolism. Muscle loss and decline in function cause a decrease in the quality of life of patients and the elderly, leading to complications that require early diagnosis. Positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) offers non-invasive, high-resolution visualization of tissues. It has emerged as a promising alternative to invasive diagnostic methods and is attracting attention as a tool for assessing muscle function and imaging muscle diseases. Effective imaging of muscle function and pathology relies on appropriate radiopharmaceuticals that target key aspects of muscle metabolism, such as glucose uptake, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, and the oxidation of fat and carbohydrates. In this review, we describe how [18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose ([18F]FDG), [18F]fluorocholine ([18F]FCH), [11C]acetate, and [15O]water ([15O]H2O) are suitable radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging of skeletal muscles.

Keywords: positron emission tomography; radiopharmaceutical; skeletal muscle atrophy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal* / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal* / metabolism
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography / methods
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18