Design and implementation of an automated partial volume correction in PET: Application to dopamine receptor quantification in the normal human striatum

Olivier G. Rousset, D. Louis Collins, Arman Rahmim, Dean F. Wong

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71 Scopus citations


The considerable effort and potential lack of reproducibility of human-driven PET quantification and partial volume correction (PVC) can be alleviated by use of atlas-based automatic analysis. The present study examined the application of a new algorithm designed to automatically define 3-dimensional regions of interest (ROIs) and their effect on dopamine receptor quantification in the normal human brain striatum, both without and with PVC. Methods: A total of 90 healthy volunteers (age range, 18-46 y) received a single injection of 11C-raclopride, and automatic segmentation of concomitant structural MR images was performed using a maximum-probability atlas in combination with a trained neural network. For each identified tissue segment considered homogeneous for the tracer (or volumes of interest [VOIs]), an a priori criterion based on minimum axial recovery coefficient (RC zmin = 50%, 75%, and 90%) was used to constrain the extent of each ROI. Results: With ROIs essentially overlapping the entire VOI volume (obtained with RCzmin = 50%), the binding potential (BPND) of 11C-raclopride was found to be around 2.2 for caudate and 2.9 for putamen, an underestimation by 35% and 28%, respectively, according to PVC values. At increased RCzmin, BPND estimates of 11C-raclopride were increased by 12% and 21% for caudate and 8% and 15% for putamen when the associated ROIs decreased to around 65% and 43% of total tissue volume (VOI) for caudate and 67% and 31% for putamen. After PVC, we observed relative increases in BPND variance of 12% for caudate and 20% for putamen, whereas estimated BPND values all increased to 3.4 for caudate and 4.0 for putamen, regardless of ROI size. Dopamine receptor concentrations appeared less heterogeneous in the normal human striatum after PVC than they did without PVC: the 25%-30% difference in BPND estimates observed between caudate and putamen remained significant after PVC but was reduced to slightly less than 20%. Furthermore, the results were comparable with those obtained with a manual method currently in use in our laboratory. Conclusion: The new algorithm allows for traditional PET data extraction and PVC in an entirely automatic fashion, thus avoiding labor-intensive analyses and potential intra- or interobserver variability. This study also offers the first, to our knowledge, large-scale application of PVC to dopamine D2/D3 receptor imaging with 11C-raclopride in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1106
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008


  • 3D ROI
  • Automatic algorithm
  • PET
  • Partial-volume correction
  • Striatum


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