Table 1

Neuroinflammation imaging techniques that have been used in humans

LigandImaging modalityMechanism of imaging neuroinflammation
PK11195PET, SPECTMeasures TSPO
Ro5–4864PETMeasures TSPO
DAA1106PETMeasures TSPO
AC-5216PETMeasures TSPO
VincopetinePETMeasures TSPO
DEP (Deprenyl)PETSelective irreversible MAO-B antagonist that labels activated astrocytes
DED (Deuteriodeprenyl)PETSelective irreversible MAO-B antagonist that labels activated astrocytes
Arachidonic acidPETNeuroinflammation is characterised by phospholipase A2 activation, and thus arachidonic acid metabolism, in glia and neurones
TMSXPETMeasures adenosine A2A receptors (a putative regulator of inflammation)
MRSMeasurement of myoinositol, N-acetylaspartate and choline (metabolites proposed to be elevated in neuroinflammation)
Free-water MRIMRIA diffusion MRI processing analysis that can calculate extracellular volume, which is sensitive to neuroinflammation, and tissue fractional anisotropy, which is sensitive to axonal degeneration. Mainly images neuroinflammation of white matter
USPIO eg, SHU555CMRILabels peripheral macrophages that have infiltrated the CNS
Gadolinium-DTPAMRIImages BBB breakdown, a putative ‘marker’ of inflammation
  • CNS, central nervous system; MAO-B, monoamine oxidase B; MRS, magnetic resonance spectroscopy; PET, positron emission tomography; SPECT, single-photon emission computed tomography; USPIO, ultrasmall particle iron oxide.