Feasibility of [F-18]-2-Fluoro-A85380-PET Imaging of Human Vascular Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors In Vivo

Jan Bucerius*, Christoph Manka, Joern Schmaljohann, Venkatesh Mani, Daniela Guendisch, James H. F. Rudd, Rolf Bippus, Felix M. Mottaghy, Ullrich Wuellner, Zahi A. Fayad, Hans-Juergen Biersack

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Web of Science)


OBJECTIVES The aim of this feasibility study was to evaluate [F-18]-2-Fluoro-A85380 for in vivo imaging of arterial nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in humans. Furthermore, potentially different vascular uptake patterns of this new tracer were evaluated in healthy volunteers and in patients with neurodegenerative disorders. BACKGROUND [F-18]-2-Fluoro-A85380 was developed for in vivo positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of nAChR subunits in the human brain. These nAChRs are also found in arteries and seem to mediate the deleterious effects of nicotine as a part of tobacco smoke in the vasculature. It has been previously shown that uptake patterns of the radiotracer in the brain differs in patients with neurodegenerative disorders compared with healthy controls. METHODS [F-18]-2-Fluoro-A85380 uptake was quantified in the ascending and descending aorta, the aortic arch, and the carotids in 5 healthy volunteers and in 6 patients with either Parkinson's disease or multiple system atrophy, respectively, as the maximum target-to-background ratio. The maximal standardized uptake value values, the single hottest segment, and the percent active segments of the [F-18]-2-Fluoro-A85380 uptake in the arteries were also assessed. RESULTS [F-18]-2-Fluoro-A85380 uptake was clearly visualized and maximum target-to-background ratio uptake values corrected for the background activity of the tracer showed specific tracer uptake in the arterial walls. Significantly higher uptake values were found in the descending aorta. Comparison between volunteers and patients revealed significant differences, with lower [F-18]-2-Fluoro-A85380 uptake in the patient group when comparing single arterial territories but not when all arterial territories were pooled together. CONCLUSIONS [F-18]-2-Fluoro-A85380 can provide specific information on the nAChR distribution in human arteries. Vascular nAChR density seems to be lower in patients with Parkinson's disease or multiple system atrophy. Once confirmed in larger study populations and in the experimental setting, this approach might provide insights into the pathogenic role of nAChRs in the human vasculature. (J Am Coll Cardiol Img 2012;5:528-36)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-536
JournalJACC-Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • arteries
  • multiple system atrophy
  • nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
  • Parkinson's disease
  • positron emission tomography

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