Utilizing PET and MALDI Imaging for Discovery of a Targeted Probe for Brain Endocannabinoid α/ β-Hydrolase Domain 6 (ABHD6)

J Med Chem. 2023 Jan 12;66(1):538-552. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.2c01485. Epub 2022 Dec 14.


Multimodal imaging provides rich biological information, which can be exploited to study drug activity, disease associated phenotypes, and pharmacological responses. Here we show discovery and validation of a new probe targeting the endocannabinoid α/β-hydrolase domain 6 (ABHD6) enzyme by utilizing positron emission tomography (PET) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) imaging. [18F]JZP-MA-11 as the first PET ligand for in vivo imaging of the ABHD6 is reported and specific uptake in ABHD6-rich peripheral tissues and major brain regions was demonstrated using PET. A proof-of-concept study in nonhuman primate confirmed brain uptake. In vivo pharmacological response upon ABHD6 inhibition was observed by MALDI imaging. These synergistic imaging efforts used to identify biological information cannot be obtained by a single imaging modality and hold promise for improving the understanding of ABHD6-mediated endocannabinoid metabolism in peripheral and central nervous system disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Endocannabinoids* / metabolism
  • Hydrolases* / metabolism
  • Monoacylglycerol Lipases
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Endocannabinoids
  • Hydrolases
  • Monoacylglycerol Lipases