A Nonhuman Primate PET Study: Measurement of Brain PDE4 Occupancy by Roflumilast Using (R)-[11C]Rolipram.Mol Imaging Biol. 2018 08; 20(4):615-622.MI
Phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibition in the brain has been reported to improve cognitive function in animal models. Therefore, PDE4 inhibitors are one of key targets potential for drug development. Investigation of brain PDE4 occupancy would help to understand the effects of PDE4 inhibition to cognitive functions. Roflumilast is a selective phosphodiesterase type 4 (PDE4) inhibitor used clinically for severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but the effects to the brain have not been well investigated. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether roflumilast entered the brain and occupied PDE4 in nonhuman primates.
Positron emission tomography (PET) measurements with (R)-[11C]rolipram were performed at baseline and after intravenous (i.v.) administration of roflumilast (3.6 to 200 μg/kg) in three female rhesus monkeys. Arterial blood samples were taken to obtain the input function. Protein binding was measured to obtain the free fraction (fp) of the radioligand. Total distribution volume (VT) and VT/fp were calculated as outcome measures from two tissue compartment model. Lassen plot approach was taken to estimate the target occupancy.
The brain uptake of (R)-[11C]rolipram decreased after roflumilast administration. PDE 4 occupancy by roflumilast showed dose- and plasma concentration-dependent increase, although PDE4 occupancy did not reach 50 % even after the administration of up to 200 μg/kg of roflumilast, regardless of outcome measures, VT or VT/fp.
This PET study showed that the brain PDE4 binding was blocked to a certain extent after i.v. administration of clinical relevant doses of roflumilast in nonhuman primates. Further clinical PET evaluation is needed to understand the relationship between PDE4 inhibition and potential improvement of cognitive function in human subjects.