Positron emission tomography in awake animals
Small-animal positron emission tomography (PET) with mice and rats is a powerful tool to study etiologies, progression of disease and novel treatment strategies. However, a restrictive issue for small-animal imaging is the fact that animals have to be either anaesthetized or physically restrained to prevent them from moving during the imaging procedure, which would result in unacceptable blurring of the images. Both anesthesia and stress caused by physical restraints have a high chance to alter the neurochemistry which is supposed to be measured. Hence it is favorable to perform PET imaging in freely moving awake animals and to perform a motion correction subsequently. Our partners from the University of Antwerp (Molecular Imaging Center) recently developed a method to correct data for motion on the basis of radioactive point-sources being adhered to the animals head. With the current study we want to establish a stable and fully quantitative PET imaging in freely moving awake animals without the need of any anesthesia.
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