Small animal positron emission tomography in food sciences.

Amino acids

PubMedID: 16142524

Bergmann R, Pietzsch J. Small animal positron emission tomography in food sciences. Amino Acids. 2005;29(4):355-76.
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a 3-dimensional imaging technique that has undergone tremendous developments during the last decade. Non-invasive tracing of molecular pathways in vivo is the key capability of PET. It has become an important tool in the diagnosis of human diseases as well as in biomedical and pharmaceutical research. In contrast to other imaging modalities, radiotracer concentrations can be determined quantitatively. By application of appropriate tracer kinetic models, the rate constants of numerous different biological processes can be determined. Rapid progress in PET radiochemistry has significantly increased the number of biologically important molecules labelled with PET nuclides to target a broader range of physiologic, metabolic, and molecular pathways. Progress in PET physics and technology strongly contributed to better scanners and image processing. In this context, dedicated high resolution scanners for dynamic PET studies in small laboratory animals are now available. These developments represent the driving force for the expansion of PET methodology into new areas of life sciences including food sciences. Small animal PET has a high potential to depict physiologic processes like absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination and interactions of biologically significant substances, including nutrients, 'nutriceuticals', functional food ingredients, and foodborne toxicants. Based on present data, potential applications of small animal PET in food sciences are discussed.