Visualization of Peripheral Pain Generating Processes and Inflammation in Musculoskeletal Tissue using [11C]-D-deprenyl PET

  • Datum: 25 maj, kl. 09.00
  • Plats: Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Aarnio, Mikko
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Anestesiologi och intensivvård
  • Kontaktperson: Aarnio, Mikko
  • Disputation


An objective visualization and quantification of pain-generating processes in the periphery would alter pain diagnosis and represent an important paradigm shift in pain research. Positron emission tomography (PET) radioligand [11C]-D-deprenyl has shown an elevated uptake in painful inflammatory arthritis and whiplash-associated disorder. However, D-Deprenyl’s molecular binding target and uptake mechanism in inflammation and musculoskeletal injuries are still unknown. The present thesis aimed to gain insight into the mechanisms of D-deprenyl binding and uptake and to verify whether pain-associated sites and inflammation in acute musculoskeletal injury could be visualized, objectively quantified and followed over time with [11C]-D-deprenyl PET-computed tomography (PET/CT).

To identify the D-deprenyl binding target, a high-throughput analysis and competitive radioligand binding studies were performed. D-deprenyl inhibited monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) activity by 55%, MAO-B activity by 99% and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) by 70%, which identified these enzymes as higher-affinity targets. Furthermore, radioligand receptor binding assays pointed favorably towards the concept of MAO-B as the primary target. To investigate the biochemical characteristics of the binding site, we used radioligand binding assays to assess differences in the binding profile in inflamed human synovial membranes exhibiting varying levels of inflammation. D-deprenyl bound to a single, saturable population of membrane-bound protein in synovial membrane homogenates and the level of inflammation correlated with an increase in D-deprenyl binding affinity.

To verify whether D-deprenyl can visualize pain-generating processes, patients with musculoskeletal injuries were investigated and followed-up with [11C]-D-deprenyl PET/CT. In the study of eight patients with ankle sprain, the molecular aspects of inflammation and tissue injury could be visualized, objectively quantified and followed over time with [11C]-D-deprenyl PET/CT. The pain coexisted with increased [11C]-D-deprenyl uptake. In the study of 16 whiplash patients, an altered [11C]-D-deprenyl uptake in the cervical bone structures and facet joints was associated with subjective pain levels and self-rated disability.

To further evaluate D-Deprenyl’s usefulness as a marker of inflammation, three PET tracers were compared in an animal PET/CT study. Preliminary findings showed that [11C]-D-deprenyl had an almost identical uptake pattern when compared with [11C]-L-deprenyl. The two deprenyl enantiomers showed no signs of specific binding or trapping and therefore may not be useful to study further in models of inflammatory pain, surgical pain, or both.

This thesis demonstrates that D-deprenyl visualizes painful inflammation in musculoskeletal injuries and that the probable underlying mechanism of [11C]-D-deprenyl uptake is binding to MAO.