A Series of 18F-labelled Pyridinylphenyl Amides as Subtype-selective Radioligands for the Dopamine D3 Receptor

Synthesis, biological activity, and structure-selectivity relationship (SSR) studies of a novel series of potential dopamine D3 receptor radioligands as imaging agents for positron emission tomography (PET) are reported. Considering a structurally diverse library of D3 ligands, SSR studies were performed for a new series of fluorinated pyridinylphenyl amides using CoMFA and CoMSIA methods. The in vitro D3 affinities of the predicted series of biphenyl amide ligands 9 a-d revealed single-digit to sub-nanomolar potencies (KI)=0.52-1.6 nM), displaying excellent D3 selectivity over the D2 subtype of 110- to 210-fold for the test compounds 9 a-c. Radiofluorination by nucleophilic substitution of Br or NO(2) by (18)F led to radiochemical yields of 66-92 % for [(18)F]9 a-d. However, the specific activities of [(18)F]9 b and [(18)F]9 d were insufficient, rendering their use for in vivo studies impossible. Biodistribution studies of [(18)F]9 a and [(18)F]9 c using rat brain autoradiography revealed accumulation in the ventricles, thus indicating insufficient biokinetic properties of [(18)F]9 a and [(18)F]9 c for D3 receptor imaging in vivo.