Five adult rhesus monkeys with a history of prenatal cocaine exposure (PNCE) and two saline-exposed control animals were used to optimize positron emission tomography (PET) imaging methods and to gather preliminary data on the effects of PNCE on dopamine systems in the adult non-human primate central nervous system. Dynamic PET scans were performed on each monkey to measure the binding kinetics of PET ligands specific for dopamine D2/D3 receptors ([18F]fallypride) and dopamine transporter ([18F]FECNT). PET scans were coregistered to structural T1-weighted MR images to aid in identification of regions with significant dopamine innervation for tracer kinetic analysis. Brain regions of interest (ROI) included caudate, putamen, substantia nigra and anterior cingulate cortex. Kinetic modeling using a cerebellum reference region was implemented in the PMOD software package to determine ligand binding
potentials for D2/D3 receptors and dopamine transporters (DAT) in each of the ROIs to test whether fallypride and/or FECNT binding potentials, measures of D2/D3 and DAT levels respectively, were influenced by prenatal cocaine exposure. Preliminary results suggest a trend of reduced D2/D3 binding potential with increased PNCE, but future research is necessary.