Peremans K, Cornelissen B, Bossche BVD, et al.
Scintigraphy (positron emission tomography (PET) or single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) techniques) allows qualitative and quantitative measurement of physiologic processes as well as alterations secondary to various disease states. With the use of specific radioligands, molecular pathways and pharmacokinetic processes can be investigated. Radioligand delivery can be (semi)quantified in the region of interest in cross-sectional and longitudinal examinations, which can be performed under the same conditions or after physiologic or pharmacologic interventions. Most preclinical pharmacokinetic studies on physiological and experimentally altered physiological processes are performed in laboratory animals using high-resolution imaging systems. Single photon emission imaging has the disadvantage of decreased spatial and temporal resolution compared with PET. The advantage of SPECT is that equipment is generally more accessible and commonly used radionuclides have a longer physical half-life allowing for investigations over a longer time interval. This review will focus on single photon emission scintigraphy. An overview of contemporary techniques to measure biodistribution and kinetics of radiopharmaceuticals in small animal in vivo is presented. Theoretical as well as practical aspects of planar 03B3 camera and SPECT pinhole (PH) imaging are discussed. Current research is focusing on refining PH SPECT methodology, so specific regarding technical aspects and applications of PH SPECT will be reviewed.