We have synthesized and characterized [18F]-N-(4-chloro-3-((fluoromethyl-d2)thio)phenyl)-picolinamide ([18F]15) as a potential ligand for the positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of mGluR4 in the brain. Radioligand [18F]15 displays central nervous system drug-like properties, including mGluR4 affinity, potent mGluR4 PAM activity, and selectivity against other mGluRs, as well as sufficient metabolic stability. Radiosynthesis was carried out in two steps. The radiochemical yield of [18F]15 was 11.6 ± 2.9% (n = 7, decay corrected) with a purity of 99% and a molar activity of 84.1 ± 11.8 GBq/μmol. Ex vivo biodistribution studies showed reversible binding of [18F]15 in all investigated tissues including the brain, liver, heart, lungs, and kidneys. PET imaging studies in male Sprague Dawley rats showed that [18F]15 accumulates in the brain regions known to express mGluR4. Pretreatment with the unlabeled mGluR4 PAM compounds 13 (methylthio analogue) and 15 showed significant dose-dependent blocking effects. These results suggest that [18F]15 is a promising radioligand for PET imaging mGluR4 in the brain.
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