In vivo imaging of synaptic SV2A protein density in healthy and striatal-lesioned rats with [11C]UCB-J PET

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The number of functionally active synapses provides a measure of neural integrity, with reductions observed in neurodegenerative disorders. [11C]UCB-J binds to synaptic vesicle 2A (SV2A) transmembrane protein located in secretory vesicles. We aimed to assess [11C]UCB-J PET as an in vivo biomarker of regional cerebral synaptic SV2A density in rat lesion models of neurodegeneration. Healthy anesthetized rats had [11C]UCB-J PET and arterial blood sampling. We compared different models describing [11C]UCB-J brain uptake kinetics to determine its regional distribution. Blocking studies were performed with levetiracetam (LEV), an antiepileptic SV2A antagonist. Tracer binding was measured in rodent unilateral acute lesion models of Parkinsonism and Huntington’s disease, induced with 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) and quinolinic acid (QA), respectively. [3H]UCB-J autoradiography was performed in postmortem tissue. Rat brain showed high and fast [11C]UCB-J uptake and washout with up to 80% blockade by LEV. [11C]UCB-J PET showed a 6.2% decrease in ipsilateral striatal SV2A binding after 6-OHDA and 39.3% and 55.1% decreases after moderate and high dose QA confirmed by autoradiography. In conclusion, [11C]UCB-J PET provides a good in vivo marker of synaptic SV2A density which can potentially be followed longitudinally along with synaptic responses to putative neuroprotective agents in models of neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Pages (from-to)819-830
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

    Research areas

  • SV2A protein, [11C]UCB-J PET, neurodegeneration, rat, synapse

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