PET imaging of neuroinflammation in neurological disorders

William C. Kreisl, Min Jeong Kim, Jennifer M. Coughlin, Ioline D. Henter, David R. Owen, Robert B. Innis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A growing need exists for reliable in-vivo measurement of neuroinflammation to better characterise the inflammatory processes underlying various diseases and to inform the development of novel therapeutics that target deleterious glial activity. PET is well suited to quantify neuroinflammation and has the potential to discriminate components of the neuroimmune response. However, there are several obstacles to the reliable quantification of neuroinflammation by PET imaging. Despite these challenges, PET studies have consistently identified associations between neuroimmune responses and pathophysiology in brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Tissue studies have also begun to clarify the meaning of changes in PET signal in some diseases. Furthermore, although PET imaging of neuroinflammation does not have an established clinical application, novel targets are under investigation and a small but growing number of studies have suggested that this imaging modality could have a role in drug development. Future studies are needed to further improve our knowledge of the cellular mechanisms that underlie changes in PET signal, how immune response contributes to neurological disease, and how it might be therapeutically modified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)940-950
Number of pages11
JournalThe Lancet Neurology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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