First-in-human evaluation of [11C]PS13, a novel PET radioligand, to quantify cyclooxygenase-1 in the brain

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2020 Dec;47(13):3143-3151. doi: 10.1007/s00259-020-04855-2. Epub 2020 May 12.


Purpose: This study assessed whether the newly developed PET radioligand [11C]PS13, which has shown excellent in vivo selectivity in previous animal studies, could be used to quantify constitutive levels of cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) in healthy human brain.

Methods: Brain test-retest scans with concurrent arterial blood samples were obtained in 10 healthy individuals. The one- and unconstrained two-tissue compartment models, as well as the Logan graphical analysis were compared, and test-retest reliability and time-stability of total distribution volume (VT) were assessed. Correlation analyses were conducted between brain regional VT and COX-1 transcript levels provided in the Allen Human Brain Atlas.

Results: In the brain, [11C]PS13 showed highest uptake in the hippocampus and occipital cortex. The pericentral cortex also showed relatively higher uptake compared with adjacent neocortices. The two-tissue compartment model showed the best fit in all the brain regions, and the results from the Logan graphical analysis were consistent with those from the two-tissue compartment model. VT values showed excellent test-retest variability (range 6.0-8.5%) and good reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient range 0.74-0.87). VT values also showed excellent time-stability in all brain regions, confirming that there was no radiometabolite accumulation and that shorter scans were still able to reliably measure VT. Significant correlation was observed between VT and COX-1 transcript levels (r = 0.82, P = 0.007), indicating that [11C]PS13 binding reflects actual COX-1 density in the human brain.

Conclusions: These results from the first-in-human evaluation of the ability of [11C]PS13 to image COX-1 in the brain justifies extending the study to disease populations with neuroinflammation.

Clinical trial registration: NCT03324646 at . Registered October 30, 2017. Retrospectively registered.

Keywords: Cyclooxygenase-1; Inflammation; Neuroimaging; Positron emission tomography; Test-retest reliability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain* / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain* / metabolism
  • Cyclooxygenase 1 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Cyclooxygenase 1

Associated data