In vivo metabolism of radiolabeled putrescine in gliomas: implications for positron emission tomography of brain tumors

Neurosurgery. 1988 Oct;23(4):464-9. doi: 10.1227/00006123-198810000-00010.


The in vivo uptake and metabolism of radiolabeled putrescine was examined in two glioma models: (a) the T9 gliosarcoma in the CD Fischer rat and (b) the U-87 MG human glioblastoma in the athymic (nude) mouse. Autoradiography after parenteral administration of [14C]putrescine revealed rapid and selective uptake by both tumors compared with normal brain. Polyamine analysis of the rat gliosarcoma demonstrated minimal conversion of labeled putrescine to its metabolites, spermidine and spermine, at 5 and 30 minutes after intravenous injection. The human glioblastoma also exhibited minimal polyamine conversion at 5 minutes, although there was a trend toward significant metabolism at longer time periods (30 and 45 minutes). In addition, the human glioblastoma produced nonpolyamine metabolites that suggest an alternative pathway of putrescine metabolism via gamma-aminobutyric acid. These in vivo findings are discussed in relation to the usefulness of putrescine as a marker for positron emission tomography of human gliomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Glioma / diagnostic imaging
  • Glioma / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Polyamines / metabolism
  • Putrescine / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism*


  • Polyamines
  • Putrescine