Development of [18F]ASEM, a specific radiotracer for quantification of the α7-nAChR with positron-emission tomography

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19 Scopus citations


The alpha-7 subtype of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR) is fundamental to physiology; it mediates various brain functions and represents an important target for drug discovery. Exploration of the brain nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) using positron-emission tomography (PET) will make it possible to better understand the important role of this receptor and to study its involvement in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, drug dependence, inflammation and many other disorders and simplify the development of nicotinic drugs for treatment of these disorders. Until recently, PET imaging of α7-nAChRs has been impeded by the absence of good radiotracers. This review describes various endeavors to develop α7-nAChR PET tracers by several research groups including the author's group. Most initial PET tracers for imaging α7-nAChRs did not exhibit suitable imaging properties due to their low specific binding. Newly discovered [18F]ASEM is the first highly specific α7-nAChR radioligand and in 2014 it was translated to human PET imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-575
Number of pages10
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 15 2015


  • Alpha 7
  • Nicotinic receptor
  • PET
  • Positron emission tomography
  • [F]ASEM
  • α7-nAChR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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