Correlating neurite density and synaptic density in the human brain in vivo with diffusion-weighted PET-MR
Daan Christiaens1,2, Thomas Vande Casteele2,3,4, Maarten Laroy2,4, Margot Van Cauwenberge2,3,4, Jan Van den Stock3,4, Filip Boeckaert3,4, Stefan Sunaert2,5,6, Mathieu Vandenbulcke3,4, Frederik Maes1,2, and Louise Emsell2,3,4,5
1Department of Electrical Engineering, ESAT/PSI, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 2Medical Imaging Research Center, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 3Geriatric Psychiatry, UPC KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 4Leuven Brain Institute, Department of Neurosciences, Neuropsychiatry, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 5Department of Imaging & Pathology, Translational MRI, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 6Radiology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
11C-UCB-J PET offers a unique imaging modality to map synaptic density in the human brain in vivo with high specificity. Here, we investigate its correlation with several diffusion MRI metrics and microstructure model parameters in diffusion-weighted PET-MR. We report moderate negative correlation of 11C-UCB-J uptake with measures of anisotropy, consistent with a hypothesis that higher synaptic density is associated with a more disorganised neurite configuration. We also find weak positive correlation to the intra-axonal signal fraction in cortical grey matter. As such, 11C-UCB-J PET-MR can further the interpretation and in vivo validation of more advanced microstructure models of grey matter.
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