The need for innovation in research is leading to an increased use of imaging biomarkers, which have shown to reduce timings
and increase productivity, thus saving costs. PET and SPECT neurotransmission imaging has shown usefulness in the discovery and development
of drugs for the central nervous system, providing unique information on drug-target interactions in the living human brain.
Among the different therapeutic areas, antipsychotic drugs pioneered the application of these technologies in early phases of development.
PET and SPECT radioligands for the most commonly targeted neurotransmission systems in the development of these drugs, such
as the dopaminergic and serotoninergic systems are available, thus fostering the inclusion of PET and SPECT studies in the antipsychotic
drug development plans. Radioligands for other neurotransmission systems more recently implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia,
such as the glutamatergic system, are being currently investigated. This review focuses on neurotransmission PET and SPECT
aiming to serve as guidance for procedure requirements and methodology choices to be applied in antipsychotic drug development,
through specific examples. Cutting-edge study designs and quantification approaches will be reviewed. Finally, some clues to get the
most out of the PET and SPECT studies in the development of antipsychotic drugs will be provided.
Keywords: Antipsychotic, drug development, imaging biomarker, neurotransmission, PET, quantification method, SPECT, study design
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