Pharmaceutics 15 (2) - [2023-02-02; online 2023-02-02]
The progressive loss of beta-cell mass is a hallmark of diabetes and has been suggested as a complementary approach to studying the progression of diabetes in contrast to the beta-cell function. Non-invasive nuclear medicinal imaging techniques such as Positron Emission Tomography using radiation emitting tracers have thus been suggested as more viable methodologies to visualize and quantify the beta-cell mass with sufficient sensitivity. The transmembrane G protein-coupled receptor GPR44 has been identified as a biomarker for monitoring beta-cell mass. MK-7246 is a GPR44 antagonist that selectively binds to GPR44 with high affinity and good pharmacokinetic properties. Here, we present the synthesis of MK-7246, radiolabeled with the positron emitter fluorine-18 for preclinical evaluation using cell lines, mice, rats and human pancreatic cells. Here, we have described a synthesis and radiolabeling method for producing [18F]MK-7246 and its precursor compound. Preclinical assessments demonstrated the strong affinity and selectivity of [18F]MK-7246 towards GPR44. Additionally, [18F]MK-7246 exhibited excellent metabolic stability, a fast clearance profile from blood and tissues, qualifying it as a promising radioactive probe for GPR44-directed PET imaging.