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    Gabapentin, a selective ligand for the α2δ subunit of voltage-dependent calcium channels, is an anticonvulsant medication used in the treatment of neuropathic pain, epilepsy, and other neurological conditions. We recently described two radiofluorinated derivatives of gabapentin (trans-4-[18F]fluorogabapentin, [18F]tGBP4F, and cis-4-[18F]fluorogabapentin, [18F]cGBP4F) and showed that these compounds accumulate in the injured nerves in a rodent model of neuropathic pain. Given the use of gabapentin in brain diseases, here we investigate whether these radiofluorinated derivatives of gabapentin can be used for imaging α2δ receptors in the brain. Specifically, we developed automated radiosynthesis methods for [18F]tGBP4F and [18F]cGBP4F and conducted dynamic PET imaging in adult rhesus macaques with and without preadministration of pharmacological doses of gabapentin. Both radiotracers showed very high metabolic stability, negligible plasma protein binding, and slow accumulation in the brain. [18F]tGBP4F, the isomer with higher binding affinity, showed low brain uptake and could not be displaced, whereas [18F]cGBP4F showed moderate brain uptake and could be partially displaced. Kinetic modeling of brain regional time-activity curves using a metabolite-corrected arterial input function shows that a one-tissue compartment model accurately fits the data. Graphical analysis using Logan or multilinear analysis 1 produced similar results as compartmental modeling, indicating robust quantification. This study advances our understanding of how gabapentinoids work and provides an important advancement toward imaging α2δ receptors in the brain.


    Yu-Peng Zhou, Marc D Normandin, Vasily Belov, Marina T Macdonald-Soccorso, Sung-Hyun Moon, Yang Sun, Georges El Fakhri, Nicolas J Guehl, Pedro Brugarolas. Evaluation of trans- and cis-4-[18F]Fluorogabapentin for Brain PET Imaging. ACS chemical neuroscience. 2023 Dec 06;14(23):4208-4215

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    PMID: 37947793

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