Image-derived input function for brain PET studies: Many challenges and few opportunities

Paolo Zanotti-Fregonara, Kewei Chen, Jeih San Liow, Masahiro Fujita, Robert B. Innis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


Quantitative positron emission tomography (PET) brain studies often require that the input function be measured, typically via arterial cannulation. Image-derived input function (IDIF) is an elegant and attractive noninvasive alternative to arterial sampling. However, IDIF is also a very challenging technique associated with several problems that must be overcome before it can be successfully implemented in clinical practice. As a result, IDIF is rarely used as a tool to reduce invasiveness in patients. The aim of the present review was to identify the methodological problems that hinder widespread use of IDIF in PET brain studies. We conclude that IDIF can be successfully implemented only with a minority of PET tracers. Even in those cases, it only rarely translates into a less-invasive procedure for the patient. Finally, we discuss some possible alternative methods for obtaining less-invasive input function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1986-1998
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • PET
  • derived input function
  • kinetic modeling
  • neuroreceptor tracers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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