PET Neuroimaging in Pigs

  • Aage Kristian Olsen Alstrup PET Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus
  • Donald F Smith Center for Psychiatric Research, Psychiatric Hospital of Aarhus University, Risskov


Current interest in studying molecular processes as they occur in the living brain has accelerated the use of laboratory animals for neuroimaging of novel radiolabelled compounds. In particular, positron emission tomography (PET) has contributed to the development of radiolabelled compounds for assessing molecular processes in the living brain. The dynamics of PET typically require a relatively large organ size and blood supply in order to properly evaluate radioligand binding kinetics. To fulfil these requirements, pigs have often been used in such studies. Today, much is known about the metabolism, neurotransmission and molecular binding properties of the living porcine brain, and most findings support similarities between neuronal mechanisms in pigs and humans. Here, we review 10-years of PET findings on neuromolecular processes in the living porcine brain and, whenever possible, we relate PET findings in pigs to those obtained in humans.