In Vitro Evaluation of 11C-Labeled (S)-Nicotine, (S)-3-Methyl-5-(1-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidinyl)isoxazole, and (R,S)-1-Methyl-2-(3-Pyridyl)azetidine as Nicotinic Receptor Ligands for Positron Emission Tomography Studies

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The binding characteristics of the novel 11C-labeled nicotinic ligands (R,S)-1-methyl-2-(3-pyridyl)azetidine(MPA) and (S)-3-methyl-5-(1-methyl-2-pyrrolidinyl)isoxazole (ABT-418) were investigated in comparison with those of (S)-[11C]nicotine in vitro in the rat brain to be able to predict the binding properties of the new ligands for positron emission tomography studies in vivo. The data from time-resolved experiments for all ligands indicated fast binding kinetics, with the exception of a slower dissociation of [11C]MPA in comparison with (S)-[11C]nicotine and [11C]ABT-418. Saturation experiments revealed for all ligands two nicotinic receptor binding sites with affinity constants (KD values) of 2.4 and 560 nM and binding site densities (Bmax values) of 65.5 and 223 fmol/mg of protein for (S)-[11C]nicotine,KD values of 0.011 and 2.2 nM and Bmax values of 4.4 and 70.7 fmol/mg of protein for [11C]MPA, and KD values of 1.3 and 33.4 nM and Bmax values of 8.8 and 69.2 fmol/mg of protein for [11C]ABT-418. In competing with the11 C-ligands, epibatidine was most potent, followed by cytisine. A different rank order of potencies was found for (−)-nicotine, (+)-nicotine, MPA, and ABT-418 displacing each of the 11C-ligands. Autoradiograms displayed a similar pattern of receptor binding for all ligands, whereby [11C]MPA showed the most distinct binding pattern and the lowest nonspecific binding. We conclude that the three 11C-labeled nicotinic ligands were suitable for characterizing nicotinic receptors in vitro. The very high affinity of [11C]MPA to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, its low nonspecific binding, and especially the slower dissociation kinetics of the [11C]MPA from the putative high-affinity nicotinic acetylcholine receptor binding site compared with (S)-[11C]nicotine and [11C]ABT-418 raise the level of interest in [11C]MPA for application in positron emission tomography.

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