Radiocaine: An Imaging Marker of Neuropathic Injury

Nicole D. Bartolo, Sarah E. Reid, Hema S. Krishnan, Azra Haseki, Muthukrishnan Renganathan, Tally M. Largent-Milnes, Braxton A. Norwood, Marco L. Loggia, Jacob M. Hooker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Voltage-gated sodium channels (Navs) play a crucial electrical signaling role in neurons. Nav-isoforms present in peripheral sensory neurons and dorsal root ganglia of the spinal cord are critically involved in pain perception and transmission. While these isoforms, particularly Nav1.7, are implicated in neuropathic pain disorders, changes in the functional state and expression levels of these channels have not been extensively studied in vivo. Radiocaine, a fluorine-18 radiotracer based on the local anesthetic lidocaine, a non-selective Navblocker, has previously been used for cardiac Nav1.5 imaging using positron-emission tomography (PET). In the present study, we used Radiocaine to visualize changes in neuronal Navexpression after neuropathic injury. In rats that underwent unilateral spinal nerve ligation, PET/MR imaging demonstrated significantly higher uptake of Radiocaine into the injured sciatic nerve, as compared to the uninjured sciatic nerve, for up to 32 days post-surgery. Radiocaine, due to its high translational potential, may serve as a novel diagnostic tool for neuropathic pain conditions using PET imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3661-3667
Number of pages7
JournalACS Chemical Neuroscience
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 21 2022


  • neuroimaging
  • neuropathic injury
  • positron emission tomography
  • radiotracer
  • spinal nerve ligation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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