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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2001 Feb;21(2):132-43.

Radiolabeled cholinesterase substrates: in vitro methods for determining structure-activity relationships and identification of a positron emission tomography radiopharmaceutical for in vivo measurement of butyrylcholinesterase activity.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0028, USA.


There is currently great interest in developing radiolabeled substrates for acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase that would be useful in the in vivo imaging of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Using a simple in vitro spectrophotometric assay for determination of enzymatic cleavage rates, the structure-activity relationship for a short series of 1-methyl-4-piperidinyl esters was investigated. Relative enzymatic hydrolysis rates for the well-characterized 1-methyl-4-piperidinyl acetate, propionate, and i-butyrate esters were in agreement with literature values. The 4 and 5 carbon esters of 1-methyl-4-piperidinol were specific for butyrylcholinesterase and cleaved in the rank order n-valerate > n-butyrate >> 2-methylbutyrate, iso-valerate. These spectrophotometric results were also in agreement with in vitro hydrolysis rates in mouse blood and with in vivo regional retention of radioactivity in mouse brain of 11C-labeled analogs. Brain uptake and apparent enzymatic rate constants for 1-[11C]methyl-4-piperidinyl n-butyrate and n-valerate were calculated from in vivo measurements in M. nemistrina using positron emission tomography. Based on higher brain uptake of radioactivity and superior pharmacokinetics, 1-[11C]methyl-4-piperidinyl n-butyrate was identified as a new radiopharmaceutical for the in vivo measurement of butyrylcholinesterase activity.

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