Kinetic analysis in healthy humans of a novel positron emission tomography radioligand to image the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor, a potential biomarker for inflammation

Neuroimage. 2008 Mar 1;40(1):43-52. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.11.011. Epub 2007 Nov 22.


The peripheral benzodiazepine receptor (PBR) is upregulated on activated microglia and macrophages and thereby is a useful biomarker of inflammation. We developed a novel PET radioligand, [(11)C]PBR28, that was able to image and quantify PBRs in healthy monkeys and in a rat model of stroke. The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of [(11)C]PBR28 to quantify PBRs in brain of healthy human subjects. Twelve subjects had PET scans of 120 to 180 min duration as well as serial sampling of arterial plasma to measure the concentration of unchanged parent radioligand. One- and two-tissue compartmental analyses were performed. To obtain stable estimates of distribution volume, which is a summation of B(max)/K(D) and nondisplaceable activity, 90 min of brain imaging was required. Distribution volumes in human were only approximately 5% of those in monkey. This comparatively low amount of receptor binding required a two-rather than a one-compartment model, suggesting that nonspecific binding was a sizeable percentage compared to specific binding. The time-activity curves in two of the twelve subjects appeared as if they had no PBR binding-i.e., rapid peak of uptake and fast washout from brain. The cause(s) of these unusual findings are unknown, but both subjects were also found to lack binding to PBRs in peripheral organs such as lung and kidney. In conclusion, with the exception of those subjects who appeared to have no PBR binding, [(11)C]PBR28 is a promising ligand to quantify PBRs and localize inflammation associated with increased densities of PBRs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Biotransformation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Inflammation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Peripheral Nerves / diagnostic imaging*
  • Peripheral Nerves / metabolism*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Pyrimidines / adverse effects
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / adverse effects
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics*
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • (methyl-(11)C)N-acetyl-N-(2-methoxybenzyl)-2-phenoxy-5-pyridinamine
  • Biomarkers
  • Pyrimidines
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Receptors, GABA-A