OBJECTIVE: To determine whether state-associated changes in microglial activity, measured with translocator-protein positron emission tomography (TSPO PET), can be identified in psychosis patients through longitudinal evaluation of their regional tracer uptake over the clinical course from acute psychosis to post-treatment follow-up, and comparison to healthy controls. We also evaluated the relation between tracer uptake, clinical symptoms and peripheral immunological markers.

METHOD: Second-generation radioligand [18F]-PBR111 TSPO PET-CT was used for longitudinal dynamic imaging in 14 male psychosis patients and 17 male age-matched healthy control subjects. Patients were first scanned during an acute psychotic episode followed by a second scan after treatment. Prior genotyping of subjects for the rs6917 polymorphism distinguished high- and mixed-affinity binders. The main outcome was regional volume of distribution (VT), representing TSPO binding. Plasma concentrations of CRP, cytokines and kynurenines were measured at each timepoint.

RESULTS: We found a significant three-way interaction between time of scan, age and cohort (cortical grey matter F6.50, p.020). Age-dependent differences in VT existed between cohorts during the psychotic state, but not at follow-up. Patients' relative change in VT over time correlated with age (cortical grey matter Pearson's r.574). PANSS positive subscale scores correlated with regional VT during psychosis (cortical grey matter r.767). Plasma CRP and quinolinic acid were independently associated with lower VT.

CONCLUSIONS: We identified a differential age-dependent pattern of TSPO binding from psychosis to follow-up in our cohort of male psychosis patients. We recommend future TSPO PET studies in psychosis patients to differentiate between clinical states and consider potential age-related effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-54
Number of pages9
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Early online date29 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

    Research areas

  • State-associated changes, longitudinal, PET-imaging, psychosis patients, evidence, hypothesis, Cytokines, Schizophrenia, Neuroinflammation, Microglia, Psychosis, Translocator protein, Positron emission tomography, Kynurenines

ID: 44471056