Public Release: 

Marker substance for research into brain diseases

ETH Zurich

Researchers from ETH Zurich, University Hospital Zurich and the University of Münster are the first to develop a marker substance that makes NMDA receptors on the surface of nerve cells visible via positron emission tomography (PET). NMDA receptors are promising pharmaceutical targets for the treatment of various brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and depression. The scientists, led by ETH professor Simon Ametamey, reported their findings in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

The new marker substance - technically known as a PET tracer - should help in the research of such diseases. Thus far, the substance has only been tested on rats in the laboratory. However, the researchers aim to soon use this new PET tracer in clinical studies in order to investigate the role of NMDA receptors in brain diseases and also to determine the therapeutic potential of new NMDA candidate drugs. The PET tracer could be particularly useful in future for determining the correct dosage of drugs that influence the activity of NMDA receptors.

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Reference

Krämer SD, Betzel T, Mu L, Haider A, Müller Herde A, Boninsegni AK, Keller C, Szermerski M, Schibli R, Wünsch B, Ametamey SM: Evaluation of 11C-Me-NB1 as a Potential PET Radioligand for Measuring GluN2B-Containing NMDA Receptors, Drug Occupancy, and Receptor Cross Talk. Journal of Nuclear Medicine 2018. 59: 698-703, doi: 10.2967/jnumed.117.200451 [http://dx.doi.org/10.2967/jnumed.117.200451]

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