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J Neuroimaging. 1999 Oct;9(4):217-22.

Brain uptake and plasma metabolism of [11C]vinpocetine: a preliminary PET study in a cynomolgus monkey.

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Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


Vinpocetine, a vinca alkaloid, is a widely used therapeutic agent in patients with acute and chronic stroke. To reveal the mechanisms of vinpocetine action in the brain, vinpocetine was labeled with 11C. Positron emission tomography (PET) was used to determine the uptake and distribution of [11C]vinpocetine in brain regions and the trunk of a cynomolgous monkey in two independent measurements. The concentration of vinpocetine and its labeled metabolites was determined in blood and plasma using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Almost identical measurements were obtained in the two independent studies. After intravenous administration, following an initial peak, the total concentration of radioactivity in blood was relatively stable with time, whereas the concentration of the unchanged compound decreased with time in an exponential manner. The uptake of [11C]vinpocetine in brain was rapid, and 5% of the radioactivity totally injected was present in the brain 2 minutes after drug administration, indicating that the compound entered the brain readily. The radioactivity uptake was heterogeneously distributed among brain regions and was highest in the thalamus, the basal ganglia, and certain neocortical regions. The high brain uptake and the heterogeneous regional distribution indicate that direct central nervous system (CNS) effects of vinpocetine must be considered as explanation for the therapeutic effects. The detailed exploration of this suggestion requires further studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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