Quantification of receptor-ligand binding potential in sub-striatal domains using probabilistic and template regions of interest.


Sub-striatal regions of interest (ROIs) are widely used in PET studies to investigate the role of dopamine in the modulation of neural networks implicated in emotion, cognition and motor function. One common approach is that of Mawlawi et al. (2001) and Martinez et al. (2003), where each striatum is divided into five sub-regions. This study focuses on the use of two spatial normalization-based alternatives to manual sub-striatal ROI delineation per subject: manual ROI delineation on a template brain and the production of probabilistic ROIs from a set of subject-specific manually delineated ROIs. Two spatial normalization algorithms were compared: SPM5 unified segmentation and ART. The ability of these methods to quantify sub-striatal regional non-displaceable binding potential (BPND) and BPND % change (following methylphenidate) was tested on 32 subjects (16 controls and 16 ADHD patients) scanned with the dopamine D2/D3 ligand [18F]fallypride. Probabilistic ROIs produced by ART provided the best results, with similarity index values against subject-specific manual ROIs of 0.75-0.89 (mean 0.84) compared to 0.70-0.85 (mean 0.79) for template ROIs. Correlations (r) for BPND and BPND % change between subject-specific manual ROIs and these probabilistic ROIs of 0.90-0.98 (mean 0.95) and 0.98-1.00 (mean 0.99) respectively were superior overall to those obtained with template ROIs, although only marginally so for BPND % change. The significance of relationships between BPND measures and both behavioural tasks and methylphenidate plasma levels was preserved with ART combined with both probabilistic and template ROIs. SPM5 virtually matched the performance of ART for BPND % change estimation but was inferior for BPND estimation in caudate sub-regions. ART spatial normalization combined with probabilistic ROIs and to a lesser extent template ROIs provides an efficient and accurate alternative to time-consuming manual sub-striatal ROI delineation per subject, especially when the parameter of interest is BPND % change. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.