Estimation from PET data of transient changes in dopamine concentration induced by alcohol: Support for a non-parametric signal estimation method

C. C. Constantinescu, K. K. Yoder, D. A. Kareken, C. A. Bouman, S. J. O'Connor, M. D. Normandin, E. D. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


We previously developed a model-independent technique (non-parametric ntPET) for extracting the transient changes in neurotransmitter concentration from paired (rest & activation) PET studies with a receptor ligand. To provide support for our method, we introduced three hypotheses of validation based on work by Endres and Carson (1998 J. Cereb. Blood Flow Metab. 18 1196-210) and Yoder et al (2004 J. Nucl. Med. 45 903-11), and tested them on experimental data. All three hypotheses describe relationships between the estimated free (synaptic) dopamine curves (FDA(t)) and the change in binding potential (ΔBP). The veracity of the FDA(t) curves recovered by nonparametric ntPET is supported when the data adhere to the following hypothesized behaviors: (1) ΔBP should decline with increasing DA peak time, (2) ΔBP should increase as the strength of the temporal correlation between FDA(t) and the free raclopride (F RAC(t)) curve increases, (3) ΔBP should decline linearly with the effective weighted availability of the receptor sites. We analyzed regional brain data from 8 healthy subjects who received two [11C]raclopride scans: one at rest, and one during which unanticipated IV alcohol was administered to stimulate dopamine release. For several striatal regions, nonparametric ntPET was applied to recover FDA(t), and binding potential values were determined. Kendall rank-correlation analysis confirmed that the FDA(t) data followed the expected trends for all three validation hypotheses. Our findings lend credence to our model-independent estimates of FDA(t). Application of nonparametric ntPET may yield important insights into how alterations in timing of dopaminergic neurotransmission are involved in the pathologies of addiction and other psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1353-1367
Number of pages15
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 7 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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