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J Med Chem. 2009 Jan 8;52(1):62-73. doi: 10.1021/jm800817h.

Synthesis, radiosynthesis, and biological evaluation of carbon-11 and fluorine-18 labeled reboxetine analogues: potential positron emission tomography radioligands for in vivo imaging of the norepinephrine transporter.

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Department of Radiology, Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Reboxetine analogues with methyl and fluoroalkyl substituents at position 2 of the phenoxy ring 1-4 were synthesized. In vitro competition binding with [(3)H]nisoxetine demonstrated that 1-4 have a high affinity for the norepinephrine transporter (NET) with K(i)'s = 1.02, 3.14, 3.68, and 0.30 nM, respectively. MicroPET imaging in rhesus monkeys showed that the relative regional distribution of [(11)C]1 and [(11)C]4 is consistent with distribution of the NET in the brain, while [(18)F]2 and [(18)F]3 showed only slight regional differentiation in brain uptake. Especially, the highest ratios of uptake of [(11)C]1 in NET-rich regions to that in caudate were obtained at 1.30-1.45 at 45 min and remained relatively constant over 85 min. Pretreatment of the monkey with the selective NET inhibitor, desipramine, decreased the specific binding for both [(11)C]1 and [(11)C]4. PET imaging in awake monkeys suggested that anesthesia influenced the binding potential of [(11)C]1 and [(11)C]4 at the NET.

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