JOURNAL ARTICLE

Improved metabolic stability for 18F PET probes rapidly constructed via tetrazine trans-cyclooctene ligation

Ramajeyam Selvaraj, Benjamin Giglio, Shuanglong Liu, Hui Wang, Mengzhe Wang, Hong Yuan, Srinivasa R Chintala, Li-Peng Yap, Peter S Conti, Joseph M Fox, Zibo Li
Bioconjugate Chemistry 2015 March 18, 26 (3): 435-42
25679331
The fast kinetics and bioorthogonal nature of the tetrazine trans-cyclooctene (TCO) ligation makes it a unique tool for PET probe construction. In this study, we report the development of an (18)F-labeling system based on a CF3-substituted diphenyl-s-tetrazine derivative with the aim of maintaining high reactivity while increasing in vivo stability. c(RGDyK) was tagged by a CF3-substituted diphenyl-s-tetrazine derivative via EDC-mediated coupling. The resulting tetrazine-RGD conjugate was combined with a (19)F-labeled TCO derivative to give HPLC standards. The analogous (18)F-labeled TCO derivative was combined with the diphenyl-s-tetrazine-RGD at μM concentration. The resulting tracer was subjected to in vivo metabolic stability assessment, and microPET studies in murine U87MG xenograft models. The diphenyl-s-tetrazine-RGD combines with an (18)F-labeled TCO in high yields (>97% decay-corrected on the basis of TCO) using only 4 equiv of tetrazine-RGD relative to the (18)F-labeled TCO (concentration calculated based on product's specific activity). The radiochemical purity of the (18)F-RGD peptides was >95% and the specific activity was 111 GBq/μmol. Noninvasive microPET experiments demonstrated that (18)F-RGD had integrin-specific tumor uptake in subcutaneous U87MG glioma. In vivo metabolic stability of (18)F-RGD in blood, urine, and major organs showed two major peaks: one corresponded to the Diels-Alder conjugate and the other was identified as the aromatized analog. A CF3-substituted diphenyl-s-tetrazine displays excellent speed and efficiency in (18)F-PET probe construction, providing nearly quantitative (18)F labeling within minutes at low micromolar concentrations. The resulting conjugates display improved in vivo metabolic stability relative to our previously described system.

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