PET radioligand injection for pig neuroimaging
Pigs are useful models in neuroimaging studies with positron emission tomography (PET). Radiolabeled ligands are injected intravenously at the start of the scan and in pigs the most easily accessible route of administration is the ear vein. However, in brain studies the short distance between the brain and ear vein can be problematic as both are localized inside the field of view and, as a consequence, tracer residues in the catheter may influence the outcome of the scan. Here, we discuss options to avoid this problem. The femoral vein can be used in studies where repeated arterial blood sampling is needed because surgical incision has to be performed to allow access to the artery. When a non-invasive technique is preferred, the ear vein is a good alternative although it is recommended to dilute the tracer sufficiently in saline (20-50 mL) prior to injection. In addition, the tracer can be injected through an extension tube (filled with saline before injection), which is removed together with the syringe immediately after tracer injection. This avoids placing the syringe with tracer inside the PET gantry while injecting. By applying these simple techniques, it is our experience that it is possible to obtain high-quality images without exposing pigs to invasive procedures.