Improved synthesis of SV2A targeting radiotracer [11C]UCB-J

  • Rokka J
  • Schlein E
  • Eriksson J
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INTRODUCTION: [11C]UCB-J is a tracer developed for PET (positron emission tomography) that has high affinity towards synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A), a protein believed to participate in the regulation of neurotransmitter release in neurons and endocrine cells. The localisation of SV2A in the synaptic terminals makes it a viable target for in vivo imaging of synaptic density in the brain. Several SV2A targeting compounds have been evaluated as PET tracers, including [11C]UCB-J, with the aim to facilitate studies of synaptic density in neurological diseases. The original two-step synthesis method failed in our hands to produce sufficient amounts of [11C]UCB-J, but served as an excellent starting point for further optimizations towards a high yielding and simplified one-step method. [11C]Methyl iodide was trapped in a clear THF-water solution containing the trifluoroborate substituted precursor, potassium carbonate and palladium complex. The resulting reaction mixture was heated at 70 °C for 4 min to produce [11C]UCB-J. RESULTS: After semi-preparative HPLC purification and reformulation in 10% ethanol/phosphate buffered saline, the product was obtained in 39 ± 5% radiochemical yield based on [11C]methyl iodide, corresponding to 1.8 ± 0.5 GBq at EOS. The radiochemical purity was > 99% and the molar activity was 390 ± 180 GBq/μmol at EOS. The product solution contained <  2 ppb palladium. CONCLUSIONS: A robust and high yielding production method has been developed for [11C]UCB-J, suitable for both preclinical and clinical PET applications.




Rokka, J., Schlein, E., & Eriksson, J. (2019). Improved synthesis of SV2A targeting radiotracer [11C]UCB-J. EJNMMI Radiopharmacy and Chemistry, 4(1).

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