DOI: 10.1007/s00259-017-3879-xPages: 1041-1051

A first-in-man PET study of [18F]PSS232, a fluorinated ABP688 derivative for imaging metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5

1. University Hospital Zurich, Department of Nuclear Medicine

2. University Hospital Zurich and University of Zurich, Department of Neurology

3. ETH Zurich, Radiopharmaceutical Science, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences

Correspondence to:
Simon M. Ametamey




Non-invasive imaging of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) in the brain using PET is of interest in e.g., anxiety, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. Widespread application of the most widely used mGlu5 tracer, [11C]ABP688, is limited by the short physical half-life of carbon-11. [18F]PSS232 is a fluorinated analog with promising preclinical properties and high selectivity and specificity for mGlu5. In this first-in-man study, we evaluated the brain uptake pattern and kinetics of [18F]PSS232 in healthy volunteers.


[18F]PSS232 PET was performed with ten healthy male volunteers aged 20–40 years. Seven of the subjects received a bolus injection and the remainder a bolus/infusion protocol. Cerebral blood flow was determined in seven subjects using [15O]water PET. Arterial blood activity was measured using an online blood counter. Tracer kinetics were evaluated by compartment modeling and parametric maps were generated for both tracers.


At 90 min post-injection, 59.2 ± 11.1% of total radioactivity in plasma corresponded to intact tracer. The regional first pass extraction fraction of [18F]PSS232 ranged from 0.41 ± 0.06 to 0.55 ± 0.03 and brain distribution pattern matched that of [11C]ABP688. Uptake kinetics followed a simple two-tissue compartment model. The volume of distribution of total tracer (VT, ml/cm3) ranged from 1.18 ± 0.20 for white matter to 2.91 ± 0.51 for putamen. The respective mean distribution volume ratios (DVR) with cerebellum as the reference tissue were 0.88 ± 0.06 and 2.12 ± 0.10, respectively. The tissue/cerebellum ratios of a bolus/infusion protocol (30/70 dose ratio) were close to the DVR values.


Brain uptake of [18F]PSS232 matched the distribution of mGlu5 and followed a two-tissue compartment model. The well-defined kinetics and the possibility to use reference tissue models, obviating the need for arterial blood sampling, make [18F]PSS232 a promising fluorine-18 labeled radioligand for measuring mGlu5 density in humans.

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  • Accepted: Nov 6, 2017
  • Online: Nov 27, 2017

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