Advances in radiotracer chemistry and instrumentation have merged to make positron emission tomography (PET) a powerful tool in the biomedical sciences. Positron emission tomography has found increased application in the study of drugs affecting the brain and whole body, including the measurement of drug pharmacokinetics (using a positron-emitter-labeled drug) and drug pharmacodynamics (using a labeled tracer). Thus, radiotracers are major scientific tools enabling investigations of molecular phenomena, which are at the heart of understanding human disease and developing effective treatments; however, there is evidently a bottleneck in translating basic research to clinical practice. In the meantime, the poor ability to predict the in vivo behavior of chemical compounds based on their log P's and affinities emphasizes the need for more knowledge in this area. In this article, we focus on the development and translation of radiotracers for PET studies of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) and the norepinephrine transporter (NET), two molecular systems that urgently need such an important tool to better understand their functional significance in the living human brain.
- Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR)
- Norepinephrine transporter (NET)