5-(2′-[18F]Fluoroethyl)flumazenil ([18F]FEF), a fluorine-18-labeled analogue of the benzodiazepine antagonist flumazenil, was evaluated for use with positron emission tomography (PET). PET imaging of a baboon after i.v. injection of [18F]FEF showed that the radiofluorinated ligand rapidly localized in vivo within benzodiazepine receptor-rich cerebral tissues, and that selective disposition was retained for over 2 h. Coinjection of unlabeled flumazenil (0.55 mg/kg i.v.) abolished the heterogeneous cerebral distribution of the tracer; receptor-specific uptake was reduced by approximately 95%. The fluorinated benzodiazepine antagonist was degraded in vivo only to polar radiometabolites that do not cross the blood-brain barrier. [18F]FEF has advantages over existing PET radiopharmaceuticals, and is a promising radioligand for non-invasive evaluation of central benzodiazepine receptor binding in vivo.
- Benzodiazepine receptors
- PET (positron emission tomography)
- [F]FEF (5-(2′-[F]Fluoroethyl)flumazenil)