Synthesis and evaluation of new imaging agent for central nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α7 subtype

Mikako Ogawa, Shingo Nishiyama, Hideo Tsukada, Kentaro Hatano, Takeshi Fuchigami, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Yoshitaka Matsushima, Kengo Ito, Yasuhiro Magata

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) α7 subtype (α7 nAChR) is one of the major nAChR subtypes in the brain. We synthesized C-11 labeled α7 nAChR ligands, (R)-2-[11C]methylamino-benzoic acid 1-aza-bicyclo[2.2.2]oct-3-yl ester ([11C](R)-MeQAA) and its isomer (S)-[11C]MeQAA, for in vivo investigation with positron emission tomography (PET). Then, the potential of (R)- and (S)-[11C]MeQAA for in vivo imaging of α7 nAChR in the brain was evaluated in mice and monkeys. Methods: The binding affinity for α7 nAChR was measured using rat brain. Biodistribution and in vivo receptor blocking studies were undertaken in mice. Dynamic PET scans were performed in conscious monkeys. Results: The affinity for α7 nAChR was 41 and 182 nM for (R)- and (S)-MeQAA, respectively. The initial uptake in the mouse brain was high ([11C](R)-MeQAA: 7.68 and [11C](S)-MeQAA: 6.65 %dose/g at 5 min). The clearance of [11C](R)-MeQAA was slow in the hippocampus (α7 nAChR-rich region) but was rapid in the cerebellum (α7 nAChR-poor region). On the other hand, the clearance was fast for [11C](S)-MeQAA in all regions. The brain uptake of [11C](R)-MeQAA was decreased by methyllycaconitine (α7 nAChR antagonist) treatment. In monkeys, α7 nAChRs were highly distributed in the thalamus and cortex but poorly distributed in the cerebellum. The high accumulation was observed in the cortex and thalamus for [11C](R)-MeQAA, while the uptake was rather homogeneous for [11C](S)-MeQAA. Conclusions: [11C](R)-MeQAA was successfully synthesized and showed high uptake to the brain. However, since the in vivo selectivity for α7 nAChR was not enough, further PET kinetic analysis or structure optimization is needed for specific visualization of brain α7 nAChRs in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-355
Number of pages9
JournalNuclear Medicine and Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 04-2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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