Recently, [Tc-99m]TRODAT-1, the first Tc-99m-labeled tracer for imaging CNS dopamine transporters in humans, was reported. This tracer displayed excellent specific binding to dopamine transporters in the basal ganglia region of the brain, thus it is potentially useful for the diagnosis of deficit of dopamine transporters in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease. Preparation of [Tc-99m]TRODAT-1 was previously achieved by a multistep kit formulation. It is highly desirable to further improve the preparation by developing a simplified one-vial formulation with a reduced amount of TRODAT-1 ligand for routine clinical use. To achieve this goal, a series of studies to optimize labeling efficiency by varying a combination of factors (amount of free ligand, reaction reagents, and reaction pH) was carried out. [Tc-99m]TRODAT-1 prepared by this new kit formulation was evaluated by assessing the brain uptake and target (striatum) versus nontarget (cerebellum) ratios in rats. Appropriate amounts of various ingredients for a one-vial kit formulation providing > or =90% radiolabeling yields were identified. The most consistent and reliable formulation contained 10 microg of TRODAT-1 (a reduction of free ligand from 200 microg to 10 microg), 32 microg of SnCl2, 10 mg of sodium glucoheptonate, and 840 microg of disodium EDTA in one vial as a lyophilized kit. It is feasible to reconstitute the vial with [Tc-99m]pertechnetate (0.5-2 mL, < or =1110 MBq, 30 mCi), resulting in a final solution with a pH value of 4.5-5.0. [Tc-99m]TRODAT-1, prepared by this new kit, was stable at room temperature for 6 h. Biodistribution studies of this agent in rats with the new formulation showed similar regional brain distribution as compared with those obtained with the previous preparation (high striatum-to-cerebellum ratio). In conclusion, using this lyophilized one-vial kit formulation, [Tc-99m]TRODAT-1 can be prepared with greater than 90% radiochemical purity. This simplified kit will significantly improve the reliability of preparation of this agent for routine clinical use.