Radiofluorinated L-m-tyrosines: New in-vivo probes for central dopamine biochemistry

Jorge R. Barrio, Sung Cheng Huang, Dan Chu Yu, William P. Melega, Javier Quintana, Simon R. Cherry, Andrew Jacobson, Mohammad Namavari, Nagichettiar Satyamurthy, Michael E. Phelps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In this work, we introduce 6-[18F]fluoro-L-m-tyrosine (6-FMT) and compare its in-vivo kinetic and biochemical behaviors in monkeys and rodents with those of 4-FMT and 6-[18F]fluoro-L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) (FDOPA). These radiofluorinated m-tyrosine presynaptic dopaminergic probes, resistant to peripheral 3-O-methylation, offer a nonpharmacological alternative to the use of catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors. Like FDOPA, 4-FMT and 6-FMT are analogs that essentially follow the L-DOPA pathway of central metabolism. After i.v. administration in nonhuman primates and rodents, these new radiofluorinated m-tyrosine analogs accumulate selectively in striatal structures and allow for the detection of additional innervation sites (e.g., brain stem) rich in aromatic amino acid decarboxylase. Biochemical analyses in rodents and monkeys revealed the specificity of their central and peripheral metabolism. Molecular and enzymatic mechanisms involved in their retention in central brain structures are consistent with involvement of dopaminergic neurons. The high signal-to-noise ratios observed make these radiofluorinated m-tyrosine analogs outstanding candidates for probing the integrity of central dopaminergic mechanisms in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-678
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • 4
  • 6-[F]fluoro-L-m-tryosine
  • 6-FMT
  • Dopaminergic probes
  • FMT
  • L-DOPA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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