Autoradiographic disposition of [1-methyl-14C]- and [2-14C]caffeine in mice

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1983 Nov;71(2):237-41. doi: 10.1016/0041-008x(83)90340-x.


Male, C57B1/6J mice received either [1-methyl-14C]caffeine or [2-14C]caffeine via the tail vein at a dose of 0.7 or 11 mg/kg, respectively. At 0.1, 0.33, 1, 3, 9, and 24 hr after treatment, the mice were anesthetized with ether and frozen by immersion in dry ice/hexane. The mice were processed for whole-body autoradiography by the Ullberg technique; this procedure does not allow thawing or contact with solvents. All autoradiographs revealed some retention of radioactivity at early time intervals in the lacrimal glands, seminal vesicle fluid, nasal and olfactory epithelium, and retinal melanocytes. The remaining portion of the animal was densitometrically uniform except for the lower levels noted in the CNS and adipose tissues. Excretion of radioactivity by the liver and kidneys seems to be the major routes of elimination. Localization in the liver at late time intervals was confined principally to the centrilobular region. Late sites of retention, observed only after [1-methyl-14C]caffeine administration, included the pancreas, minor and major salivary glands, splenic red pulp, thymal cortex, bone marrow, and gastrointestinal epithelium. Sites of localization present in both studies included the olfactory epithelium, lacrimal glands, hair follicles, and retinal melanocytes. Further studies are needed to determine whether the localization at these various sites is due to metabolic degradation, active transport, or possibly a specific receptor interaction.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Caffeine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Caffeine / metabolism
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Tissue Distribution


  • 2-methylcaffeine
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Caffeine
  • 1-methylcaffeine