[ 11 C]JNJ54173717, a novel P2X7 receptor radioligand as marker for neuroinflammation: human biodistribution, dosimetry, brain kinetic modelling and quantification of brain P2X7 receptors in patients with Parkinson's disease and healthy volunteers

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2019 Sep;46(10):2051-2064. doi: 10.1007/s00259-019-04369-6. Epub 2019 Jun 26.


Purpose: The P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) is an ATP-gated ion channel predominantly expressed on activated microglia and is important in neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease (PD). In this first-in-human study, we investigated [11C]JNJ54173717 ([11C]JNJ717), a selective P2X7R tracer, in healthy volunteers (HV) and PD patients. Biodistribution, dosimetry, kinetic modelling and short-term test-retest variation (TRV), as well as possible genotype effects, were investigated.

Methods: Biodistribution and radiation dosimetry studies were performed in three HV (mean age 30 ± 2 years, two women) using whole-body PET/CT. The most appropriate kinetic model was determined in 11 HV (mean age 62 ± 10 years, six women) and 10 PD patients (mean age 64 ± 8 years, three women; mean UPDRS motor score 21 ± 8) using 90-min dynamic simultaneous PET/MR scans. The total volume of distribution (VT) was calculated using a one-tissue and a two-tissue compartment model (1TCM, 2TCM) and Logan graphical analysis, and its time stability was assessed. Seven subjects underwent retest scans (mean age 60 ± 13 years, four HV, one woman). A group analysis was performed to compare PD patients and HV. Finally, 13 exons of P2X7R were genotyped in all subjects included in the second part of the study.

Results: The mean effective dose was 4.47 ± 0.32 μSv/MBq, with the highest absorbed doses to the gallbladder, liver and small intestine. A reversible 2TCM was the most appropriate kinetic model with relatively homogeneous VT values in the grey and white matter. Average VT values were 3.4 ± 0.8 in HV and 3.3 ± 0.7 in PD patients, with no significant difference between the groups, but a possible genotype effect (rs3751143) was identified which can affect VT. Average TRV was 10-15%. The stability of VT over time allowed a reduction in scan time to 70 min.

Conclusion: [11C]JNJ717 is safe and suitable for quantifying P2X7R expression in human brain. In this pilot study, no significant differences in P2X7R binding were found between HV and PD patients. The results also suggest that genotype effects need to be incorporated in future P2X7R PET analyses.

Keywords: Dosimetry; Genotyping; Neuroinflammation PET; P2X7 receptor; Parkinson; [11C]JNJ54173717.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biological Variation, Population
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Carbon Radioisotopes / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography / methods*
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography / standards
  • Protein Binding
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / administration & dosage
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / chemistry
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X7 / genetics
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X7 / metabolism*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X7