Quantification of [11C]ORM-13070 PET (draft)


[11C]ORM-13070, (1-[(S)-1-(2,3-dihydrobenzo[1,4]dioxin-2-yl)methyl]-4-(3-11C-methoxymethylpyridin-2-yl)-piperazine), is a selective PET tracer for the α2C adrenoceptor subtype (Arponen et al., 2014). It can be produced with high specific activity, and it readily penetrates the blood-brain barrier (BBB), unlike the previously developed α2C-specific PET tracers (Arponen et al., 2014).

Kinetics in the rat and mouse brain is very fast, with the peak radioactivity at about 1-2 min after tracer injection (Arponen et al., 2014). Also in human brain the peak was observed during the first 2-3 minutes (Luoto et al., 2014).


In the brain, the highest densities of α2C adrenoceptors (α2C-AR, ADRA2C) are found in the ventral and dorsal striatum, and the distribution is well conserved between rodents and humans (Scheinin et al., 1994; Holmberg et al., 2003; Fagerholm et al., 2008). Significant proportion of α2C-ARs are located intracellularly in Golgi compartments, and can be recycled from/to the plasma membrane, depending on agonist (noradrenaline) or other stimulation (Chotani and Flavahan, 2011; Jahnsen and Uhlén, 2013).

[11C]ORM-13070 can also be used to detect changes in synaptic noradrenaline levels (Finnema et al., 2015; Lehto et al., 2016).

Radioactive metabolites of [11C]ORM-13070

Two polar radioactive metabolites were detected in rat plasma, M1 in higher fractions and M2 in low fractions (Arponen et al., 2014; Luoto et al., 2014). In the rodents, at 10 min p.i. only 1/3 of the plasma radioactivity was due to the parent tracer, but in the striatum about 90% and in cerebellar cortex about 80% was still parent tracer (Arponen et al., 2014). In humans the metabolism was somewhat slower, at 10 min almost half of the radioactivity in the plasma was still due to the parent tracer (Luoto et al., 2014). Hill type function can be fitted to the plasma fraction curves, to calculate plasma TACs of parent tracer, M1, and M2 (Luoto et al., 2014).

Only M1 was observed in the brain (Arponen et al., 2014), suggesting that M1 can pass the BBB, but M2 cannot or its distribution volume in the brain is very small. M1 penetrates red blood cell (RBC) membrane, but parent tracer does not, and the level of the RBC-to-plasma ratio suggests that also M2 cannot pass RBC membranes (Luoto et al., 2014). Hill type function can be used to fit the RBC-to-plasma ratio curve (Luoto et al., 2014).

Radioactive metabolites could not be detected with HPLC-MS method, suggesting that both are volatile compounds with small molecular weight (Arponen et al., 2014). Thus the radioactive metabolites should not have any specific binding to α2C or other receptors. Demethylation is the main metabolic route of ORM-13070, and in case of [11C]ORM-13070 the -O-CH3 group contains the 11C label. It can be speculated that labeled metabolites are [11C]methanol, [11C]formaldehyde, [11C]formate or some of their further metabolic products.

Elimination of 11C radioactivity in rodents and humans seems to happen through biliary excretion and gastrointestinal tract (Arponen et al., 2014; Luoto et al., 2014).

Binding to plasma proteins decreased over time (Arponen et al., 2014), suggesting that [11C]ORM-13070 binds to plasma proteins, but its radioactive metabolites do not. In plasma of healthy humans 95% of [11C]ORM-13070 was bound to plasma proteins (Luoto et al., 2014).

Reference region

Cerebellar cortex can be used as reference region in data analysis, because it is practically devoid of α2C-AR in mice, rats, and humans (Scheinin et al., 1994; Winzer-Serhan et al., 1997; Holmberg et al., 2003; Schambra et al., 2005; Fagerholm et al., 2008).

See also:


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Updated at: 2017-10-10
Created at: 2014-06-24
Written by: Vesa Oikonen