Radiofluorination and biological evaluation of N-aryl-oxadiazolyl-propionamides as potential radioligands for PET imaging of cannabinoid CB2 receptors.
The level of expression of cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2R) in healthy and diseased brain has not been fully elucidated. Therefore, there is a growing interest to assess the regional expression of CB2R in the brain. Positron emission tomography (PET) is an imaging technique, which allows quantitative monitoring of very low amounts of radiolabelled compounds in living organisms at high temporal and spatial resolution and, thus, has been widely used as a diagnostic tool in nuclear medicine. Here, we report on the radiofluorination of N-aryl-oxadiazolyl-propionamides at two different positions in the lead structure and on the biological evaluation of the potential of the two tracers [18F]1 and [18F]2 as CB2 receptor PET imaging agents.
High binding affinity and specificity towards CB2 receptors of the lead structure remained unaffected by the structural changes such as the insertion of the aliphatic and aromatic fluorine in the selected labelling sites of 1 and 2. Aliphatic and aromatic radiofluorinations were optimized, and [18F]1 and [18F]2 were achieved in radiochemical yields of >=30% with radiochemical purities of >=98% and specific activities of 250 to 450 GBq/mumol. Organ distribution studies in female CD1 mice revealed that both radiotracers cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB) but undergo strong peripheral metabolism. At 30 min after injection, unmetabolized [18F]1 and [18F]2 accounted for 60% and 2% as well as 66% and 80% of the total activity in the plasma and brain, respectively. The main radiometabolite of [18F]2 could be identified as the free acid [18F]10, which has no affinity towards the CB1 and CB2 receptors but can cross the BBB.
N-aryl-oxadiazolyl-propionamides can successfully be radiolabelled with 18F at different positions. Fluorine substitution at these positions did not affect affinity and specificity towards CB2R. Despite a promising in vitro behavior, a rather rapid peripheral metabolism of [18F]1 and [18F]2 in mice and the generation of brain permeable radiometabolites hamper the application of these radiotracers in vivo. However, it is expected that future synthetic modification aiming at a replacement of metabolically susceptible structural elements of [18F]1 and [18F]2 will help to elucidate the potential of this class of compounds for CB2R PET studies.
- [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]