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Update on PET imaging biomarkers in the diagnosis of neuropsychiatric disorders

Hellwig, Sabinea; Domschke, Katharinaa,b

doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000000705
NEUROIMAGING: Edited by Stefan Klöppel

Purpose of review To give an update on recent imaging studies probing positron emission tomography (PET) as a tool for improving biomarker-guided diagnosis of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Recent findings Several studies confirmed the value of imaging of regional neuronal activity and imaging of dopaminergic, serotonergic, and other neuroreceptor function in the diagnostic process of neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly schizophrenia, depression/bipolar disorder, substance use disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Additionally, imaging brain microglial activation using translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO) radiotracer allows for unique in-vivo insights into pathophysiological neuroinflammatory changes underlying schizophrenia, affective disorders, and OCD.

Summary The role of PET imaging in the biomarker-guided diagnostic process of neuropsychiatric disorders has been increasingly acknowledged in recent years. Future prospective studies are needed to define the value of PET imaging for diagnosis, treatment decisions, and prognosis in neuropsychiatric disorders.

aDepartment of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical Center - University of Freiburg

bCenter for NeuroModulation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Germany

Correspondence to Sabine Hellwig, MD, Department of Psychiatry und Psychotherapy, Medical Center – University of Freiburg, Hauptstr. 5, 79104 Freiburg, Germany. Tel: +49 (0)761 270 65010; fax: +49 (0)761 270 65230; e-mail:

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