PET Brain Imaging of Nicotine Dependence: Where do we go from here?


February 20, 2019



Time Duration

3 - 4 p.m.




Jacob Dubroff, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Radiology
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

"Although rates continue to trend downward, cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States directly contributing to cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and stroke deaths. Significant deficiencies remain in treating dependency despite advances in cessation therapies and continued regulation via tobacco control. There has also been a sharp, unsettling rise in electronic nicotine device (ENDs) use for which the long term health consequences remain uncertain. In this emerging era of precision medicine, better understanding of nicotine metabolism has improved our ability to understand barriers to cessation. Yet chemical dependency remains a neurologic disease and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) brain imaging has been critical in elucidating the neuronal underpinnings that drive nicotine dependence and lead to successful cessation. Dr. Dubroff, a nuclear medicine physician and translational neuroscientist in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Radiology, presently leads an NIH funded study that is focused on understanding the relationship between hepatic nicotine metabolism and brain nicotine receptor availability. He will review hallmark PET brain imaging studies focused on dopaminergic and nicotinic receptors that lead to our present understanding of nicotine dependence and consider future avenues of investigation."