Mapping catechol-O-methyltransferase in vivo: initial studies with [18F]Ro41-0960

Life Sci. 1996;58(3):195-208. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(95)02277-5.


Ro41-0960 is a potent, fluorine containing COMT inhibitor which has be en reported to cross the blood brain barrier and to inhibit COMT in the brain. It is structurally similar to Ro40-7592 which is currently undergoing clinical trials in Parkinson's disease. Positron emission tomographic (PET) studies in baboon using F-18 labeled Ro41-0960 demonstrated a negligible uptake in the brain both at tracer doses and with the addition of unlabeled drug (1.5 mg/kg) at all times through a 90 min experimental interval. The brain to plasma ratios of F-18 averaged about 0.025. Region of interest analysis of the brain tissue area suggests that most of F-18 in the brain was due to the blood in the brain and not the brain tissue itself. However, high uptake was observed in the kidneys and in other organs which are known to have high COMT activity. Studies in mice showed that at 30 min after injection of tracer, F-18 in kidneys was largely as unchanged [18F]Ro41-0960 and that it could be displaced with unlabeled Ro41-0960. The fact that the average brain to blood ratio for mice (n=12) was 0.04, and that similar HPLC metabolite patterns were observed for brain and blood, provides consistent evidence that nearly all the F-18 in the brain represents F-18 in the cerebral blood vessels. These studies raise the question of whether the central pharmacological effects of Ro41-0960 are due to its presence in the brain. They also provide the first example of a positron emitter labeled radiotracer for COMT, and provide initial encouraging evidence that [18F]Ro41-0960 may be used to examine COMT in peripheral organs in vivo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzophenones / metabolism*
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Female
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Mice
  • Papio
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Benzophenones
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Ro 41-0960
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase