Steen Jakobsen

Receptor occupancy of mirtazapine determined by PET in healthy volunteers

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Rationale: Molecular tools are needed for assessing anti-depressant actions by positron emission tomography (PET) in the living human brain. Objectives: This study determined whether [11C]mirtazapine is an appropriate molecular tool for use with PET to estimate the magnitude of neuroreceptor occupancy produced by daily intake of mirtazapine. Methods: This study used a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, within-subject design. Eighteen healthy volunteers were PET-scanned twice with [ 11C]mirtazapine; once under baseline condition and again after receiving either placebo or mirtazapine (7.5 or 15 mg) for 5 days. We determined kinetic parameters of [11C]mirtazapine in brain regions by the simplified reference region method and used binding potential values to calculate receptor occupancy produced by mirtazapine. Results: Serum concentrations of mirtazapine ranged from 33 to 56 nmol/l after five daily doses of 7.5 mg mirtazapine and were between 41 and 74 nmol/l after 15 mg mirtazapine. Placebo treatment failed to alter the binding potential of [ 11C]mirtazapine from baseline values, whereas daily intake of mirtazapine markedly decreased the binding potential in cortex, amygdala and hippocampus. Receptor occupancy ranged from 74 to 96% in high-binding regions of the brain after five daily doses of 7.5 mg or 15 mg mirtazapine, whereas 17-48% occupancy occurred in low-binding regions. Conclusions: [11C] Mirtazapine together with PET can determine the degree of receptor occupancy produced by daily doses of mirtazapine in regions of the living human brain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychopharmacology
Volume195
Issue1
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
ISSN0033-3158
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007

    Research areas

  • Anti-depressant, Binding potential, Mirtazapine, PET, Receptor occupancy

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