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Influence of vesicular storage and monoamine oxidase activity on [11C]phenylephrine kinetics: studies in isolated rat heart

D M Raffel, D M Wieland
Journal of Nuclear Medicine 1999, 40 (2): 323-30
10025842

UNLABELLED: [11C]Phenylephrine (PHEN) is a radiolabeled analogue of norepinephrine that is transported into cardiac sympathetic nerve varicosities by the neuronal norepinephrine transporter and taken up into storage vesicles localized within the nerve varicosities by the vesicular monoamine transporter. PHEN is structurally related to two previously developed sympathetic nerve markers: [11C]-meta-hydroxyephedrine and [11C]epinephrine. To better characterize the neuronal handling of PHEN, particularly its sensitivity to neuronal monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity, kinetic studies in an isolated working rat heart system were performed.

METHODS: Radiotracer was administered to the isolated working heart as a 10-min constant infusion followed by a 110-min washout period. Two distinctly different approaches were used to assess the sensitivity of the kinetics of PHEN to MAO activity. In the first approach, oxidation of PHEN by MAO was inhibited at the enzymatic level with the MAO inhibitor pargyline. In the second approach, the two hydrogen atoms on the a-carbon of the side chain of PHEN were replaced with deuterium atoms ([11C](-)-alpha-alpha-dideutero-phenylephrine [D2-PHEN]) to inhibit MAO activity at the tracer level. The importance of vesicular uptake on the kinetics of PHEN and D2-PHEN was assessed by inhibiting vesicular monoamine transporter-mediated storage into vesicles with reserpine.

RESULTS: Under control conditions, PHEN initially accumulated into the heart at a rate of 0.72+/-0.15 mL/min/g wet. Inhibition of MAO activity with either pargyline or di-deuterium substitution did not significantly alter this rate. However, MAO inhibition did significantly slow the clearance of radioactivity from the heart during the washout phase of the study. Blocking vesicular uptake with reserpine reduced the initial uptake rates of PHEN and D2-PHEN, as well as greatly accelerated the clearance of radioactivity from the heart during washout.

CONCLUSION: These studies indicate that PHEN kinetics are sensitive to neuronal MAO activity. Under normal conditions, efficient vesicular storage of PHEN serves to protect the tracer from rapid metabolism by neuronal MAO. However, it is likely that leakage of PHEN from the storage vesicles and subsequent metabolism by MAO lead to an appreciable clearance of radioactivity from the heart.

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