Contribution of labeled carbon dioxide to PET imaging of carbon-11-labeled compounds

A. F. Shields, M. M. Graham, S. M. Kozawa, L. B. Kozell, J. M. Link, E. R. Swenson, A. M. Spence, J. B. Bassingthwaighte, K. A. Krohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


11CO2 is one of the major metabolites of many [11C]-labeled radiopharmaceuticals, including glucose, thymidine, acetate, amino acids, and fatty acids. Our data contradict the notion that the contribution of labeled CO2 to PET images can be disregarded because of its rapid elimination through the lungs. We have measured the retention and excretion of 11CO2 in dogs after the intravenous injection of labeled CO2/HCO3-, which had been equilibrated ex vivo with blood. Only 58% of the label was exhaled as CO2 over the first 60 min after injection, with the rest retained in the body. The injection of [11C]thymidine labeled in the ring-2 position or [11C]acetate labeled in the carboxylate position resulted in the production of large amounts of labeled CO2 with the exhalation of about 47% and 23%, respectively, of the injected label over 60 min. At 10 min after injection of either [11C]thymidine and [11C]acetate, approximately 60% to 70% of total blood activity was in labeled CO2 or bicarbonate. On the other hand, the use of [1-11C]glucose only resulted in exhalation of 5% of the injected dose and CO2/HCO3- made up <10% of blood activity at 10 min. Our results indicate that retention and distribution of labeled CO2 needs to be considered when interpreting PET data obtained from 11C-labeled compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-584
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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