Carbon-11 labelled RS-15385-197 and its ethylsulphonyl analogue, RS-79948-197, were evaluated in rats as potential radioligands to image central alpha2-adrenoceptors in vivo. The biodistributions of both compounds were comparable with that obtained in an earlier study using tritiated RS-79948-197 and were consistent with the known localisation of alpha2-adrenoceptors. The maximal signals (total to non-specific binding) were, however, reduced, in the order [11C]RS-79948-197 < [11C]RS-15385-197 < [3H]RS-79948-197, primarily due to the difference in radiolabel position (O-methyl for carbon- 11 compared with S-ethyl for tritium). This resulted in the in-growth of radiolabelled metabolites in plasma, which, in turn, contributed to the non-specific component of brain radioactivity. Nonetheless, the signal ratio of approximately 5 for a receptor-dense tissue compared with the receptor-sparse cerebellum, at 90-120 min after radioligand injection, encouraged the development of [O-methyl-11C]RS-15385-197 for human positron emission tomography (PET). Unfortunately, in two human PET scans (each of 90 min), brain extraction of the radioligand was minimal, with volumes of distribution more than an order of magnitude lower than that measured in rats. Following intravenous injection, radioactivity was retained in plasma and metabolism of the radiolabelled compound was very low. Retrospective measurements of in vitro plasma protein binding and in vivo brain uptake index (BUI) in rats demonstrated a higher protein binding of the radioligand in human compared with rat plasma and a lower BUI in the presence of human plasma. It is feasible that a higher affinity of RS-15385-197 for human plasma protein compared with receptor limited the transport of the radioligand. Although one of the PET scans showed a slight heterogeneity in biodistribution of radioactivity which was consistent with the known localisation of alpha2-adrenoceptors in human brain, it was concluded that [O-methyl-11C]RS-15385-197 showed little promise for routine quantification of alpha2-adrenoceptors in man.