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26.06.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 10/2019

European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 10/2019

[11C]JNJ54173717, a novel P2X7 receptor radioligand as marker for neuroinflammation: human biodistribution, dosimetry, brain kinetic modelling and quantification of brain P2X7 receptors in patients with Parkinson’s disease and healthy volunteers

European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging > Ausgabe 10/2019
Donatienne Van Weehaeghe, Michel Koole, Mark E. Schmidt, Stephanie Deman, Andreas H. Jacobs, Erika Souche, Kim Serdons, Stefan Sunaert, Guy Bormans, Wim Vandenberghe, Koen Van Laere
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00259-019-04369-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Neurology

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The P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) is an ATP-gated ion channel predominantly expressed on activated microglia and is important in neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s disease (PD). In this first-in-human study, we investigated [11C]JNJ54173717 ([11C]JNJ717), a selective P2X7R tracer, in healthy volunteers (HV) and PD patients. Biodistribution, dosimetry, kinetic modelling and short-term test–retest variation (TRV), as well as possible genotype effects, were investigated.


Biodistribution and radiation dosimetry studies were performed in three HV (mean age 30 ± 2 years, two women) using whole-body PET/CT. The most appropriate kinetic model was determined in 11 HV (mean age 62 ± 10 years, six women) and 10 PD patients (mean age 64 ± 8 years, three women; mean UPDRS motor score 21 ± 8) using 90-min dynamic simultaneous PET/MR scans. The total volume of distribution (VT) was calculated using a one-tissue and a two-tissue compartment model (1TCM, 2TCM) and Logan graphical analysis, and its time stability was assessed. Seven subjects underwent retest scans (mean age 60 ± 13 years, four HV, one woman). A group analysis was performed to compare PD patients and HV. Finally, 13 exons of P2X7R were genotyped in all subjects included in the second part of the study.


The mean effective dose was 4.47 ± 0.32 μSv/MBq, with the highest absorbed doses to the gallbladder, liver and small intestine. A reversible 2TCM was the most appropriate kinetic model with relatively homogeneous VT values in the grey and white matter. Average VT values were 3.4 ± 0.8 in HV and 3.3 ± 0.7 in PD patients, with no significant difference between the groups, but a possible genotype effect (rs3751143) was identified which can affect VT. Average TRV was 10–15%. The stability of VT over time allowed a reduction in scan time to 70 min.


[11C]JNJ717 is safe and suitable for quantifying P2X7R expression in human brain. In this pilot study, no significant differences in P2X7R binding were found between HV and PD patients. The results also suggest that genotype effects need to be incorporated in future P2X7R PET analyses.

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