Papaverine, 1-(3,4-dimethoxybenzyl)-6,7-dimethoxyisoquinoline, a specific inhibitor of phosphodiesterase (PDE) 10A with IC50 values of 36 nM for PDE10A, 1,300 nM for PDE3A and 320 nM for PDE4D, has served as a useful pharmaceutical tool to study the physiological role of PDE10A. Here, we report the radiosynthesis of [11C]papaverine and the in vitro and in vivo evaluation of [11C]papaverine as a potential positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer for imaging PDE10A in the central nervous system (CNS). The radiosynthesis of papaverine with 11C was achieved by O-methylation of the corresponding des-methyl precursor with [11C]methyl iodide. [11C]papaverine was obtained with ~70% radiochemical yield and a specific activity >10 Ci/Μmol. In vitro autoradiography studies of rat and monkey brain sections revealed selective binding of [11C]papaverine to PDE10A enriched regions: the striatum of rat brain and the caudate and putamen of rhesus monkey brain. The biodistribution of [11C]papaverine in rats at 5 min demonstrated an initially higher accumulation in striatum than in other brain regions, however the washout was rapid. MicroPET imaging studies in rhesus macaques similarly displayed initial specific uptake in the striatum with very rapid clearance of [11C]papaverine from brain. Our initial evaluation suggests that despite papaverine's utility for in vitro studies and as a pharmaceutical tool, [11C]papaverine is not an ideal radioligand for clinical imaging of PDE10A in the CNS. Analogs of papaverine having a higher potency for inhibiting PDE10A and improved pharmacokinetic properties will be necessary for imaging this enzyme with PET.
- Phosphodiesterase 10A