Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a functional imaging technique that is usefull to observe different physiological processes in the body, such as metabolism.
The PET scan detects two gamma rays produced with the annihilation between a positron and an electron. The positron is emitted by a fluorine atom (F18). This radioactive atom is introduced into the body on a biologically active molecule.
Depending on the molecule used, the PET image gives us information on either metabolism using 18FDG, hypoxia with 18FMiso or skeletal system using 18FNa.
Three dimensional images of tracer concentration within the body are constructed by computer algorithms. In addition PET three dimensional imaging is often combined with a CT X Rays (performed during the same session and within the same scan).
Positron Emission Tomography is a powerful medical and research tool that allows repeated investigations on the same animal (longitudinal studies).
PET is a valuable technique for research fields such as oncology, neuroimaging, cardiology and musculo-skeletal imaging.