Investigation of image-derived input functions for non-invasive quantification of myelin density using [11C]MeDAS PET

Chris W.J. van der Weijden, Anouk van der Hoorn, Yanming Wang, Antoon T.M. Willemsen, Rudi A.J.O. Dierckx, Adriaan A. Lammertsma, Erik F.J. de Vries*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease. Current treatments are focussed on immune suppression to modulate pathogenic activity that causes myelin damage. New treatment strategies are needed to prevent demyelination and promote remyelination. Development of such myelin repair therapies require a sensitive and specific biomarker for efficacy evaluation. Recently, it has been shown that quantification of myelin density is possible using [11C]MeDAS PET. This method, however, requires arterial blood sampling to generate an arterial input function (AIF). As the invasive nature of arterial sampling will reduce clinical applicability, the purpose of this study was to assess whether an image-derived input function (IDIF) can be used as an alternative way to facilitate its routine clinical use. Six healthy controls and 11 MS patients underwent MRI and [11C]MeDAS PET with arterial blood sampling. The application of both population-based whole blood-to-plasma conversion and metabolite corrections were assessed for the AIF. Next, summed images of the early time frames (0–70 s) and the frame with the highest blood-brain contrast were used to generate IDIFs. IDIFs were created using either the hottest 2, 4, 6 or 12 voxels, or an isocontour of the hottest 10% voxels of the carotid artery. This was followed by blood-to-plasma conversion and metabolite correction of the IDIF. The application of a population-based metabolite correction of the AIF resulted in high correlations of tracer binding (Ki) within subjects, but variable bias across subjects. All IDIFs had a sharper and higher peak in the blood curves than the AIF, most likely due to dispersion during blood sampling. All IDIF methods resulted in similar high correlations within subjects (r = 0.95–0.98), but highly variable bias across subjects (mean slope=0.90–1.09). Therefore, both the use of population based blood-plasma and metabolite corrections and the generation of the image-derived whole-blood curve resulted in substantial bias in [11C]MeDAS PET quantification, due to high inter-subject variability. Consequently, when unbiased quantification of [11C]MeDAS PET data is required, individual AIF needs to be used.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119772
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1-Dec-2022


  • Demyelination
  • Image-derived input function
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Quantitative myelin imaging

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