Molecular/cellular imaging (PET)

Principle investigator:   Prof. Dr. Roger Schibli  and  Dr. Linjing Mu

Research focus

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a non–invasive quantitative imaging technique that allowing functional imaging of inflammatory processes and degenerative aspects of MS (demyelination, axonal damage). The Center for Radiopharmaceutical Sciences has a series of clinically approved and experimental PET radiotracers in its portfolio, which are potentially useful for targeting directly or indirectly inflammatory processes in the MS model. We have identified through our own work and the search of the literature the following potential target structures: the translocator protein (TSPO), the glutamate receptor type 5 (mGluR5), the folate receptor beta (expressed on activated macrophages), the cannabinoid receptor subtype 2 and the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDA). Different radiotracers will be used for evaluation different MS animal models in vitro (autoradiography) and in vivo (dynamic PET scan). To further confirm the distribution pattern of the radioligand and the expression level of the target proteins in different EAE mice, time-dependent biodistribution studies (3-4 animals), immunohistochemistry (IHC) and ex vivo autoradiography are planned. All the PET-CT results will be directly compared with MRI results. Combined PET/MRI studies with selected animal models and selected PET radiotracers are planned. Using post-mortem samples of MS patients we hope to gain a close insight in the potential utility of PET radiotracers for imaging of MS disease and translate the finding to the clinics.