Introduction: The serotonin 1B (5-HT(1B)) receptor has been implicated in several psychiatric disorders and is a potential pharmacological target in the treatment of depression. The aim of this study was to develop a radioligand for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of the 5-HT(1B) receptor in the primate brain in vivo.
Methods: Eight carboxamide radioligands (1-8) from three different core structures were radiolabeled with carbon-11 employing N-methylation with [(11)C]methyl triflate on the piperazine structural moiety. In vivo PET evaluation of each radioligand was performed in cynomolgus monkeys and included analysis of radioactive metabolites measured in plasma using high-performance liquid chromatography.
Results: In a total of 12 radiosynthesis of the eight radioligands, the mean decay corrected yield was 11%, and the mean specific radioactivity was 299 GBq/μmol (8075 Ci/mmol) at time of administration. Of the eight tested candidates, [(11)C]6 demonstrated the most promising in vivo characteristics, showing high binding in 5-HT(1B) receptor-rich regions and low binding in the cerebellum. When inspecting data from all eight compounds, lipophilicity appeared as a physicochemical property that could be related to favorable in vivo imaging characteristics.
Conclusion: Candidate [(11)C]6, i.e., [(11)C]AZ10419369, exhibited high binding potentials in regions known to contain 5-HT(1B) receptors and was nominated for further preclinical characterization and PET examination in human subjects.
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