• mefway;
  • microPET;
  • serotonin;
  • 5-HT1A receptors;
  • WAY-100635



Serotonin 5-HT1A receptors have been investigated in various CNS disorders, including epilepsy, mood disorders, and neurodegeneration. [18F]Mefway (N-{2-[4-(2′-methoxyphenyl)piperazinyl]ethyl}-N-(2-pyridyl)-N-(cis/trans−4′-[18F]fluoromethylcyclohexane)-carboxamide) has been developed as a suitable positron emission tomography (PET) imaging agent for these receptors. We have now evaluated the suitability of [18F]trans-mefway in rat and mouse models using PET and computerized tomography (CT) imaging and corroborated with ex vivo and in vitro autoradiographic studies.


Normal Sprague–Dawley rats and Balb/C mice were used for PET/CT imaging using intravenously injected [18F]trans-mefway. Brain PET data were coregistered with rat and mouse magnetic resonance imaging template and regional distribution of radioactivity was quantitated. Selected animals were used for ex vivo autoradiographic studies to confirm regional brain distribution and quantitative measures of binding, using brain region to cerebellum ratios. Binding affinity of trans-mefway and WAY-100635 was measured in rat brain homogenates. Distribution of [18F]trans−4-fluoromethylcyclohexane carboxylate ([18F]FMCHA), a major metabolite of [18F] trans-mefway, was assessed in the rat by PET/CT.


The inhibition constant, Ki for trans-mefway was 0.84 nM and that for WAY-100635 was 1.07 nM. Rapid brain uptake of [18F]trans-mefway was observed in all rat brain regions and clearance from cerebellum was fast and was used as a reference region in all studies. Distribution of [18F]trans-mefway in various brain regions was consistent in PET and in vitro studies. The dorsal raphe was visualized and quantified in the rat PET but identification in the mouse was difficult. The rank order of binding to the various brain regions was hippocampus > frontal cortex > anterior cingulate cortex > lateral septal nuclei > dorsal raphe nuclei.


[18F]trans-Mefway appears to be an effective 5-HT1A receptor imaging agent in rodents for studies of various disease models. Synapse 67:596–608, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.