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Michael Sørensen

Quantitative PET of liver functions

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Improved understanding of liver physiology and pathophysiology is urgently needed to assist the choice of new and upcoming therapeutic modalities for patients with liver diseases. In this review, we focus on functional PET of the liver: 1) Dynamic PET with 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-galactose (18F-FDGal) provides quantitative images of the hepatic metabolic clearance Kmet (mL blood/min/mL liver tissue) of regional and whole-liver hepatic metabolic function. Standard-uptake-value (SUV) from a static liver 18F-FDGal PET/CT scan can replace Kmet and is currently used clinically. 2) Dynamic liver PET/CT in humans with 11C-palmitate and with the conjugated bile acid tracer [N-methyl-11C]cholylsarcosine (11C-CSar) can distinguish between individual intrahepatic transport steps in hepatic lipid metabolism and in hepatic transport of bile acid from blood to bile, respectively, showing diagnostic potential for individual patients. 3) Standard compartment analysis of dynamic PET data can lead to physiological inconsistencies, such as a unidirectional hepatic clearance of tracer from blood (K1; mL blood/min/mL liver tissue) greater than the hepatic blood perfusion. We developed a new microvascular compartment model with more physiology, by including tracer uptake into the hepatocytes from the blood flowing through the sinusoids, backflux from hepatocytes into the sinusoidal blood, and re-uptake along the sinusoidal path. Dynamic PET data include information on liver physiology which cannot be extracted using a standard compartment model. In conclusion, SUV of non-invasive static PET with 18F-FDGal provides a clinically useful measurement of regional and whole-liver hepatic metabolic function. Secondly, assessment of individual intrahepatic transport steps is a notable feature of dynamic liver PET.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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