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PET/MRI scans may help unravel mechanisms of prenatal drug damage

very different from that of the mother. For example, mothers showed rapid uptake and clearance of the drug in the heart, kidneys and lungs, with slower uptake in the liver and brain. In the fetus, cocaine accumulated at the highest levels in the liver (due to the unique anatomy of fetal circulation) and to a lesser extent in the brain.

"While the uptake of the tracer into the fetal brain is lower and slower than in the mother's brain, a measurable quantity of cocaine and/or its labeled metabolites does accumulate in the fetal brain, particularly in the striatum, where cocaine is known to bind to cell-surface receptors that result in a euphoric response," Benveniste said.

The high uptake of radiolabeled cocaine in the placenta is also particularly relevant, the researchers said, because cocaine is known to constrict blood vessels in the placenta. It may be that this constriction of placental blood flow is one of the mechanisms underlying the harmful effects of cocaine exposure during pregnancy.

The research was funded by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within the Department of Energy's Office of Science and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The monkeys were obtained from the Primate Laboratory, department of psychiatry, at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate, Brooklyn.

"Maternal and Fetal 11C-Cocaine Uptake and Kinetics Measured In Vivo by Combined PET and MRI in Pregnant Nonhuman Primates" was written by Benveniste; Joanna S. Fowler, Ph.D., William Rooney, Ph.D., and SNM member Yu-Shin Ding, Ph.D., all with Brookhaven's chemistry department; Angela L. Baumann, M.D., Brookhaven's medical department and the anesthesiology department of Stony Brook University; Daryn H. Moller, M.D., anesthesiology department, Stony Brook University; Congwu Du, Ph.D., Brookhaven's medical department; Walter Backus, M.D., anesthesiology department, Stony Brook University; Jean Logan, Ph.D., and Pauline Carter, RN, bot
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Source:Society of Nuclear Medecine


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