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J Nucl Med. 1987 Oct;28(10):1625-36.

Metaiodobenzylguanidine to map scintigraphically the adrenergic nervous system in man.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0028.


Metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) localizes in adrenergic neurons; MIBG labeled with 123I then serves as an analog of norepinephrine, and concentrations of [123I]MIBG reflect sites of adrenergic neurons in organs. Movements of [123I]MIBG into and out of organs were measured by quantitative scintigraphy in man. We perturbed adrenergic neuron function in several ways, and [123I]MIBG concentrations in the heart were subsequently altered in patterns consistent with the concept that [123I]MIBG resides mostly in adrenergic neurons. Uptake of [123I]MIBG into the heart was inhibited by the tricyclic drug, imipramine, and this agent also accelerated the rate of loss of [123I]MIBG. Phenylpropanolamine, a sympathomimetic drug that acts by displacing norepinephrine from neurons, increased the rates of loss of [123I]MIBG from the heart. Exercise was followed by a movement of [123I]MIBG into blood and urine. Generalized autonomic neuropathies were associated with marked diminutions of [123I]MIBG uptake into the heart. We conclude that quantitative scintigraphy in patients will enable determinations of regional disturbances in integrity (by measuring uptake of [123I]MIBG) and function (by measuring rates of loss of [123I]MIBG) of the adrenergic nervous system in the heart.

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