SPECT imaging of the benzodiazepine receptor: Feasibility of in vivo potency measurements from stepwise displacement curves

R. B. Innis, M. S. Al-Tikriti, S. S. Zoghbi, R. M. Baldwin, E. H. Sybirska, M. A. Laruelle, R. T. Malison, J. P. Seibyl, R. C. Zimmermann, E. W. Johnson, E. O. Smith, D. S. Charney, G. R. Heninger, S. W. Woods, P. B. Hoffer

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Iodine-123-labeled Ro 16-0154 is a high affinity, reversibly binding radiotracer for the benzodiazepine (BZ) receptor. Brain uptake of this radioligand was relatively stable and showed high ratios of specific-to-nonspecific uptake, with greater than 90% displaced by intravenous administration of BZ receptor agents. Repeated injections of increasing doses of each of five BZ drugs (Ro 16-0154, Ro 15-1788, clonazepam, alprazolam, and diazepam) yielded stepwise displacement curves, which were analyzed to measure the in vivo potencies of these agents. The relatively long half-life of 123I and the stable biologic uptake of the radiotracer allowed such potency estimations in just one experiment following a single injection of radioligand. The in vivo potencies of these five agents were highly correlated with their affinities for the BZ receptor determined with in vitro homogenate binding. A single crystal probe provided potency measurements virtually identical to simultaneously performed SPECT imaging studies. In conclusion, stepwise displacement by agents administered following the injection of the radioligand 123I-Ro 16-0154 provided a reliable means of measuring the in vivo potencies of BZ receptor agents. This in vivo determination may predict the clinical potency of BZ drugs than in vitro homogenate estimations, because the in vivo measure provides the summed effects of receptor affinity, plasma protein binding, penetration of the blood-brain barrier, and metabolism of the displacing agent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1754-1761
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


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