PET imaging of phosphodiesterase-4 identifies affected dysplastic bone in McCune–Albright syndrome, a genetic mosaic disorder

Lora D. Weidner, Yuichi Wakabayashi, Louise A. Stolz, Michael T. Collins, Lori Guthrie, Milalynn Victorino, Joyce Chung, William Miller, Sami S. Zoghbi, Victor W. Pike, Masahiro Fujita, Robert B. Innis, Alison M. Boyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


McCune–Albright syndrome (MAS) is a mosaic disorder arising from gain-of-function mutations in the GNAS gene, which encodes the 3′,5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) pathway–associated G-protein, Gsα. Clinical manifestations of MAS in a given individual, including fibrous dysplasia, are determined by the timing and location of the GNAS mutation during embryogenesis, the tissues involved, and the role of Gsα in the affected tissues. The Gsα mutation results in dysregulation of the cAMP signaling cascade, leading to upregulation of phosphodiesterase type 4 (PDE4), which catalyzes the hydrolysis of cAMP. Increased cAMP levels have been found in vitro in both animal models of fibrous dysplasia and in cultured cells from individuals with MAS but not in humans with fibrous dysplasia. PET imaging of PDE4 with 11C-(R)-rolipram has been used successfully to study the in vivo activity of the cAMP cascade. To date, it remains unknown whether fibrous dysplasia and other symptoms of MAS, including neuropsychiatric impairments, are associated with increased PDE4 activity in humans. Methods: 11C-(R)-rolipram whole-body and brain PET scans were performed on 6 individuals with MAS (3 for brain scans and 6 for whole-body scans) and 9 healthy controls (7 for brain scans and 6 for whole-body scans). Results: 11C-(R)-rolipram binding correlated with known locations of fibrous dysplasia in the periphery of individuals with MAS; no uptake was observed in the bones of healthy controls. In peripheral organs and the brain, no difference in 11C-(R)-rolipram uptake was noted between participants with MAS and healthy controls. Conclusion: This study is the first to find evidence for increased cAMP activity in areas of fibrous dysplasia in vivo. No differences in brain uptake between MAS participants and controls were detected—a finding that could be due to several reasons, including the limited anatomic resolution of PET. Nevertheless, the results confirm the usefulness of PET scans with 11C-(R)-rolipram to indirectly measure increased cAMP pathway activation in human disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1672-1677
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • C-(R)-rolipram
  • CAMP
  • McCune-Albright syndrome
  • PET
  • Phosphodiesterase-4
  • Carbon Radioisotopes/pharmacokinetics
  • Bone and Bones/diagnostic imaging
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4/metabolism
  • Fibrous Dysplasia, Polyostotic/diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rolipram/pharmacokinetics
  • Brain/diagnostic imaging
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Whole Body Imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography/methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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