The purinergic receptor P2X ligand-gated ion channel 7 (P2X7 receptor) is a promising imaging target to detect neuroinflammation. Herein, we report development of a potent iodinated radiotracer for P2X7 receptor, [123I]TZ6019. The radiosynthesis of [123I]TZ6019 was accomplished by allylic-tin precursor iodination using [123I]NaI with good radiochemical yield of 85% and high radiochemical purity of > 99%. Human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK-293) cell line stably transfected with the human P2X7 receptor was used to characterize the binding affinity of TZ6019 by fluorescence, radioactive competitive, and saturation binding assays. A radioligand competitive binding assay with [123I]TZ6019 demonstrated that the nonradioactive compound TZ6019 has an IC50 value of 9.49 ± 1.4 nM, and the known P2X7 receptor compound GSK1482160 has an IC50 value of 4.30 ± 0.86 nM, consistent with previous reports. The radioligand saturation binding assay and competitive assay revealed that [123I]TZ6019 specifically bound to the human P2X7 receptor with high affinity (Ki = 6.3 ± 0.9 nM). In vitro autoradiography quantification with brain slices collected from 9-month old P301S tau transgenic mice along with wild type controls, revealed higher binding of [123I]TZ6019 (35% increase) in the brain of P301S transgenic mice (n = 3, p = 0.04) compared to wild type controls. The immunofluorescence microscopy confirmed that expression of P2X7 receptor was colocalized with astrocytes in the tauopathy P301S transgenic mice. [123I]TZ6019 has specific binding for P2X7 receptor and has great potential to be a radiotracer for screening new compounds and quantifying expression of P2X7 receptor in neuroinflammation related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-17
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
StatePublished - Feb 5 2018


  • I-123
  • Neuroinflammation
  • P2X7 receptor
  • P301S


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