Application of positron emission tomography to neuroimaging in sports sciences

Manabu Tashiro, Masatoshi Itoh, Toshihiko Fujimoto, Md Mehedi Masud, Shoichi Watanuki, Kazuhiko Yanai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate exercise-induced regional metabolic and perfusion changes in the human brain, various methods are available, such as positron emission tomography (PET), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and electroencephalography (EEG). In this paper, details of methods of metabolic measurement using PET, [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose ([18F]FDG) and [15O]radio-labelled water ([15O]H2O) will be explained. Functional neuroimaging in the field of neuroscience was started in the 1970s using an autoradiography technique on experimental animals. The first human functional neuroimaging exercise study was conducted in 1987 using a rough measurement system known as 133Xe inhalation. Although the data was useful, more detailed and exact functional neuroimaging, especially with respect to spatial resolution, was achieved by positron emission tomography. Early studies measured the cerebral blood flow changes during exercise. Recently, PET was made more applicable to exercise physiology and psychology by the use of the tracer [18F]FDG. This technique allowed subjects to be scanned after an exercise task is completed but still obtain data from the exercise itself, which is similar to autoradiography studies. In this report, methodological information is provided with respect to the recommended protocol design, the selection of the scanning mode, how to evaluate the cerebral glucose metabolism and how to interpret the regional brain activity using voxel-by-voxel analysis and regions of interest techniques (ROI). Considering the important role of exercise in health promotion, further efforts in this line of research should be encouraged in order to better understand health behavior. Although the number of research papers is still limited, recent work has indicated that the [18F]FDG-PET technique is a useful tool to understand brain activity during exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Aug


  • Cerebral blood flow (CBF)
  • Cerebral metabolic rate of glucose (CMRglc)
  • Exercise
  • Neuroimaging
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Radio-labelled water ([O]HO)
  • Sports sciences
  • [F]Fluorodeoxyglucose ([F]FDG)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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