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Exp Neurol. 2007 Sep;207(1):118-27. Epub 2007 Jun 19.

The high affinity peripheral benzodiazepine receptor ligand DAA1106 binds specifically to microglia in a rat model of traumatic brain injury: implications for PET imaging.

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Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant cause of mortality, morbidity, and disability. Microglial activation is commonly observed in response to neuronal injury which, when prolonged, is thought to be detrimental to neuronal survival. Activated microglia can be labeled using PK11195, a ligand that binds the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor (PBR), receptors which are increased in activated microglia and sparse in the resting brain. We compared the binding properties of two PBR ligands PK11195 and DAA1106 in rats using the controlled cortical impact (CCI) model of experimental TBI. While both ligands showed relative increases with specific binding in the cortex ipsilateral to injury compared to the contralateral side, [(3)H]DAA1106 showed higher binding affinity compared with [(3)H](R)-PK11195. Combined immunohistochemistry and autoradiography in brain tissues near the injury site showed that [(3)H]DAA1106 binding co-registered with activated microglia more than astrocytes. Further, increased [(3)H]DAA1106-specific binding positively correlated with the degree of microglial activation, and to a lesser degree with reactive astrocytosis. Finally, in vivo administration of each ligand in rats with TBI showed greater retention of [(11)C]DAA1106 compared to [(11)C](R)-PK11195 at the site of the contusion as assessed by ex vivo autoradiography. These results in a rat model of TBI indicate that [(11)C]DAA1106 binds with higher affinity to microglia when compared with PK11195, suggesting that [(11)C]DAA1106 may represent a better ligand than [(11)C](R)-PK11195 for in vivo PET imaging of activated microglia in TBI.

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