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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Positron emission tomography region of interest and parametric image analysis methods for severely-lesioned small animal disease models Topping, Geoffrey John


Small animal positron emission tomography (PET) image analysis can be particularly challenging with heavily-lesioned animal disease models with limited tracer uptake such as the 6-hydroxydopamine (OHDA) lesioned rat model of Parkinson's disease. Methodology-related variations in measured values of 10% or 15% can obscure meaningful biological differences, so accurate analysis methods are essential. However, placing regions of interest (ROIs) on these images without additional guidance is unreliable, and can lead to significant errors in results. To address this problem, this work develops a partly atlas-guided method place ROIs on structures that lack specific binding with presynaptic dopaminergic tracers. The method is tested by correlation of PET binding potential (BP) with autoradiographic binding measurements, and with repeated PET scans of the same subjects, both with the presynaptic tracer ¹¹C-dihydrotetrabenazine (DTBZ). The method is found to produce reliable results. When directly comparing PET images of the same subject to detect changes, it is essential to minimize variations due to analysis method. To this end, a masking method for automated image registration (AIR) of PET images with dopaminergic tracer rat images is developed. Coregistration with AIR and separate ROI placement are compared and tested with repeated scans of the same rat with DTBZ, and are found to be equivalent. Kinetic modelling algorithms may also introduce bias or scatter to binding potentials (BP) calculated from TACs or in parametric images. To determine the optimal method for this step, algorithms for dopaminergic tracers are compared for small animal DTBZ, ¹¹C-methylphenidate (MP), and ¹¹C-raclopride (Rac) data. Among the tested methods is a new variant of the Logan graphical kinetic modelling method, developed in this work, that issignificantly less biased by target tissue TAC noise than the standard Logan approach. The modified graphical method is further compared with the Logan graphical algorithms with added-noise simulations. The simplified reference tissue model (SRTM) is found to have the best method for ROI TAC data, while the modified graphical algorithm may be preferred when generating parametric images.

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