Using PET/CT imaging to characterize 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose utilization in fish.
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Fish are becoming an increasingly important research species as investigators seek alternatives to mammalian models. Combined positron emission tomography/computed tomography with F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG-PET/CT) is a powerful new technology that has been extensively applied for high-resolution imaging in mammals but not fish. CT scanning provides detailed anatomical three-dimensional imaging. PET scanning detects areas of cellular activity using radio-labelled molecular probes with specific uptake rates appropriate to the tissue involved. FDG-PET is used in oncology because tissues with high glucose uptake, such as neoplasms, are intensely radio-labelled. PET/CT combines the two technologies, so that images acquired from both devices are merged into one superimposed image, thus more precisely correlating metabolic activity with anatomical three-dimensional imaging. Our objective was to determine if fish can be viable replacement animals in cancer studies using this technique by analysing the similarities between fish and humans in glucose uptake in select organs across multiple fish species. Rapid, quantifiable glucose uptake was demonstrated, particularly in brain, kidneys and liver in all imaged fish species. Standard uptake values for glucose uptake in the major organ systems of fish were more similar to those of humans than mice or dogs, indicating that fish may serve as effective alternative animal models using this technology. Applications for this technique in fish may include oncogenesis and metabolism studies as well as screening for environmental carcinogenesis.