Use of 18F-ASEM PET to Determine the Availability of the α7-Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor in Recent-Onset Psychosis Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Limited postmortem evidence suggests a diminished availability of the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR) in hippocampus in psychosis. Methods: In this cross-sectional PET study, we used 18F-ASEM, a radiotracer targeting the α7-nAChR, with positron emission tomography to compare the binding of 18F-ASEM in hippocampus between individuals with recent-onset psychosis and healthy controls. Results: Individuals with recent-onset psychosis [non-affective psychosis (NP) or affective psychosis], and particularly those with NP, showed lower hippocampal binding of 18F-ASEM than healthy controls. Among patients, lower binding was associated with lower performance in two cognitive domains after controlling for age. Conclusion: Low availability of the α7-nAChR in hippocampus may be linked to recent-onset of psychosis. Further study is needed to assess its clinical relationship to neuropsychiatric symptoms.


  • Coughlin, Jennifer M
  • Du, Yong
  • Crawford, Jeffrey L
  • Rubin, Leah H
  • Azad, Babak Behnam
  • Lesniak, Wojciech G
  • Horti, Andrew G
  • Schretlen, David J
  • Sawa, Akira
  • Pomper, Martin G

publication date

  • February 2019