In the last decade the field of purinergic pharmacology has continued to grow as the complexity of the receptor families and the various enzymes involved in purine metabolism have been defined in molecular terms. Adenosine receptors (ARs) are currently divided into the four subclasses A1-, A2A-, A2B- and A3AR. The most intensively studied subtypes are the high-affinity A1 and A2A receptors, which are activated by adenosine in nano- to submicromolar concentrations. The clinical importance of the A1 adenosine receptor (A1AR) and the A2A adenosine receptor (A2AAR) makes them attractive targets for radionuclide in vivo imaging. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is an imaging modality which can determine biochemical and physiological processes in vivo in a quantitative way by using radiopharmaceuticals labeled with positron emitting radionuclides as 11C, 13N, 15O and 18F and by measuring the annihilation radiation using a coincidence technique. This includes also measurement of the pharmacokinetics of labeled drugs and the assessment of the effects of drugs on metabolism. In the present article we review the radioligands which are currently available for visualisation and quantification of ARs using PET with a special focus on the A1AR and A2AAR.
Keywords: adenosine receptor, adenosine ligands, positron emission tomography, ars, pet
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