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MicroPET study of brain neuronal metabolism under electrical and mechanical stimulation of the rat tail

Chen, You-Yina; Shih, Yen-Yu I.b; Chien, Chia-Nanb; Chou, Ta-Weib; Lee, Tee-Weic; Jaw, Fu-Shanb

Nuclear Medicine Communications: March 2009 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 188-193
doi: 10.1097/MNM.0b013e32830c6a87
Original Articles

Objective Small-animal positron emission tomography (microPET) has been widely used for measuring various molecular processes in the rodent brain. The somatotopic projection, however, has not been identified earlier using microPET under electrical stimulation (ES) and mechanical stimulation (MS). This study aimed to utilize microPET to investigate the glucose metabolism of cortical and thalamic responses to ES and MS of the rat tail.

Methods The rats were anesthetized by ketamine and a custom-built stereotaxic frame was used to fix the rat head to ensure that the scanned images were concordant with an atlas. [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) was used as a radiotracer to reveal the brain metabolic changes. An activation index (AI) was calculated from microPET data o quantify the changes in local metabolic activities normalized to variations in FDG dosage between animals.

Results The results showed that ES increased FDG uptake in both the contralateral thalamus (AI=18) and cortex (AI=12.5), with significant side-to-side differences (P<0.05, paired t-test). MS also significantly increased FDG uptake in both cortical and thalamic regions, although lateralization was absent in the thalamus.

Conclusion This study indicated that microPET can be used to elucidate the functional and quantitative neuronal activities of brain structures of rodents under peripheral stimulation, and could be applied in investigations of brain sensory functions.

aDepartment of Electrical and Control Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu City

bInstitute of Biomedical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei

cInstitute of Nuclear Energy Research, Atomic Energy Council, Taoyuan, Taiwan, Republic of China

Correspondence to You-Yin Chen, Department of Electrical and Control Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, No. 1001, Ta-Hsueh Road, Hsinchu City, Taiwan 300, Republic of China

Tel: +886 3 571 2121 x54427; fax: +886 3 612 5059;


Received 17 December 2007 Accepted 12 June 2008

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.