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Synapse. 2016 Mar;70(3):112-20. doi: 10.1002/syn.21879. Epub 2016 Jan 6.

Comparative evaluation of two glycine transporter 1 radiotracers [11C]GSK931145 and [18F]MK-6577 in baboons.

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  • 1Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale University School of Medicine, PET Center, New Haven, Connecticut.
  • 2Discovery Imaging, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, Pennsylvania.


Glycine transporter type-1 (GlyT1) has been proposed as a target for drug development for schizophrenia. PET imaging with a GlyT1 specific radiotracer will allow for the measurement of target occupancy of GlyT1 inhibitors, and for in vivo investigation of GlyT1 alterations in schizophrenia. We conducted a comparative evaluation of two GlyT1 radiotracers, [(11) C]GSK931145, and [(18) F]MK-6577, in baboons. Two baboons were imaged with [(11) C]GSK931145 and [(18) F]MK-6577. Blocking studies with GSK931145 (0.3 or 0.2 mg/kg) were conducted to determine the level of tracer specific binding. [(11) C]GSK931145 and [(18) F]MK-6577 were synthesized in good yield and high specific activity. Moderately fast metabolism was observed for both tracers, with ∼ 30% of parent at 30 min post-injection. In the brain, both radiotracers showed good uptake and distribution profiles consistent with regional GlyT1 densities. [(18) F]MK-6577 displayed higher uptake and faster kinetics than [(11) C]GSK931145. Time activity curves were well described by the two-tissue compartment model. Regional volume of distribution (VT ) values were higher for [(18) F]MK-6577 than [(11) C]GSK931145. Pretreatment with GSK931145 reduced tracer uptake to a homogeneous level throughout the brain, indicating in vivo binding specificity and lack of a reference region for both radiotracers. Linear regression analysis of VT estimates between tracers indicated higher specific binding for [(18) F]MK-6577 than [(11) C]GSK931145, consistent with higher regional binding potential (BPND ) values of [(18) F]MK-6577 calculated using VT from the baseline scans and non-displaceable distribution volume (VND ) derived from blocking studies. [(18) F]MK-6577 appears to be a superior radiotracer with higher brain uptake, faster kinetics, and higher specific binding signals than [(11) C]GSK931145.


GlyT1; PET imaging; [11C]GSK931145; [18F]MK-6577

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