Synthesis and evaluation in rats of homologous series of [18F]-labeled dopamine D2/3 receptor agonists based on the 2-aminomethylchroman scaffold as potential PET tracers

Vladimir Shalgunov, Jan Peter van Wieringen, Henk M. Janssen, Michel Fransen, Rudi A.J.O. Dierckx, Martin C. Michel, Jan Booij, Philip H. Elsinga (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Agonist positron emission tomography (PET) tracers for dopamine D2/3 receptors (D2/3Rs) offer greater sensitivity to changes in endogenous dopamine levels than D2/3R antagonist tracers. D2/3R agonist tracers currently available for clinical research are labeled with the short-lived isotope carbon-11, which limits their use. We aimed to develop high-affinity D2R agonists amenable for labeling with the longer-living fluorine-18. Here, we report the evaluation as potential PET tracers of two homologous series of [18F]fluorinated tracers based on the 2-aminomethylchroman-7-ol (AMC) scaffold: (R)-2-((4-(2-fluoroalkoxy)benzylamino)methyl)chroman-7-ols (AMC13 homologues) and (R)-2-((2-(4-(4-(fluoroalkoxy)phenyl)piperazin-1-yl)ethylamino)methyl)chroman-7-ols (AMC15 homologues). We varied the length of the 18F-fluoroalkyl chain in these structures to balance brain penetration and non-specific binding of the radioligands by adjusting their lipophilicity. Methods: The tracers were evaluated in brain slices of Sprague-Dawley rats by in vitro autoradiography and in living rats by microPET imaging and ex vivo autoradiography. PET data were analyzed with one- and two-tissue compartmental models (1TCM/2TCM), simplified reference tissue model (SRTM), and Logan graphical analysis. Specificity of binding was tested by blocking D2/3R with raclopride. Results: Homologues with a shorter fluoroalkyl chain consistently showed greater D2/3R-specific-to-total binding ratios in the striatum than those with longer chains. The fluoroethoxy homologue of AMC13 ([18F]FEt-AMC13) demonstrated the highest degree of D2/3R-specific binding among the evaluated tracers: mean striatum-to-cerebellum uptake ratio reached 4.4 in vitro and 2.1/2.8 in vivo/ex vivo (PET/autoradiography). Striatal binding potential (BPND) relative to cerebellum was 0.51–0.63 depending on the estimation method. Radiometabolites of [18F]FEt-AMC13 did not enter the brain. In vitro, application of 10 μmol/L raclopride reduced D2/3R-specific binding of [18F]FEt-AMC13 in the striatum by 81 %. In vivo, pre-treatment with 1 mg/kg (2.9 μmol/kg) raclopride led to 17–39 % decrease in D2/3R-specific binding in the striatum. Conclusions: Varying the length of the [18F]fluoroalkyl chain helped improve the characteristics of the original candidate tracers. Further modifications of the current lead [18F]FEt-AMC13 can provide an agonist radiopharmaceutical suitable for D2/3R imaging by PET.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Number of pages13
JournalEJNMMI Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2015


  • Agonist tracer
  • Dopamine receptor
  • Fluorine-18
  • PET


Dive into the research topics of 'Synthesis and evaluation in rats of homologous series of [18F]-labeled dopamine D2/3 receptor agonists based on the 2-aminomethylchroman scaffold as potential PET tracers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this