The 'Translational Neuroradiology' group focusses on application of innovative molecular neuroimaging methodologies to study non-invasively the effects of drugs on (developing) brain. This unique and very innovative line of research provides insight into benefit and harm (evidence based medicine) of psychotropic drugs on the brain and its application in personalized medicine. Application of these innovative molecular methodologies for children research is at the heart of our work. We proved that the novel technique of pharmacological MRI (phMRI) enables measuring human dopamine (DA) and serotonin neurotransmission non-invasively, similar to SPECT, but with increased temporal and spatial resolution.

The FP6 ERA-NET PrioMedChild project entitled ‘NewCheMRI’ which Dr. Reneman coordinates (a consortium involving 4 international partners) focuses on innovative methodology in medicines for children research: non-invasive imaging of brain neurotransmission using phMRI, and adult neurogenesis using 1.28 ppm with 1H-MRS. In this project we investigate the neurobiological origin of DA and serotonin phMRI, as well as the effect of pharmaceuticals (antidepressants and chemotherapy) on 1.28 ppm assessments. The application of these novel techniques in the field of Translational Neuroradiology are very promising. For instance, in her Veni project Dr. Reneman found that the effects of the antidepressant fluoxetine on the outgrowth of this system in the rat are age-dependent, which may underlie behavioral abnormalities. phMRI seems particularly sensitive to study these effects, more so than invasive assessments. We found similar age-dependent results in animals treated with MPH.

J Vis Exp 2012

Preclinical evidence suggests that running increases the number of newborn cells in the hippocampus. This process of 'adult neurogenesis' has been implicated in cognition. Together with other groups, including the PrioMedChild consortium, we have recently validated and applied 1.28 ppm 1H-MRS protocols to detect for the first time, human neurogenesis in vivo. Using this novel MRS approach and with Amsterdam Brain and Cognition funding, we will soon investigate whether exercise can increase the number of newborn cells in the live human brain and whether this process is indeed linked to cognition.