Binding of the Dual-Action Anti-Parkinsonian Drug AG-0029 to Dopamine D-2 and Histamine H-3 Receptors: A PET Study in Healthy Rats

Nafiseh Ghazanfari, Aren van Waarde, Janine Doorduin, Jurgen W. A. Sijbesma, Maria Kominia, Martin Koelewijn, Khaled Attia, David Vallez-Garcia, Antoon T. M. Willemsen, André Heeres, Rudi A. J. O. Dierckx, Ton J. Visser, Erik F.J. de Vries, Philip H. Elsinga*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Introduction: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor dysfunction and a diverse range of nonmotor symptoms. Functional relationships between the dopaminergic and histaminergic systems suggest that dual-action pharmaceuticals like AG-0029 (D-2/D-3 agonist/H-3 antagonist) could ameliorate both the motor and cognitive symptoms of PD. The current study aimed to demonstrate the interaction of AG-0029 with its intended targets in the mammalian brain using positron emission tomography (PET).

Methods: Healthy male Wistar rats were scanned with a small-animal PET camera, using either the dopamine D-2/D-3 receptor ligand [C-11]raclopride or the histamine H-3 receptor ligand [C-11]GSK-189254, before and after treatment with an intravenous, acute, single dose of AG-0029. Dynamic [C-11]raclopride PET data (60 min duration) were analyzed using the simplified reference tissue model 2 (SRTM2) with cerebellum as reference tissue and the nondisplaceable binding potential as the outcome parameter. Data from dynamic [C-11]GSK-189254 scans (60 min duration) with arterial blood sampling were analyzed using Logan graphical analysis with the volume of distribution (V-T) as the outcome parameter. Receptor occupancy was estimated using a Lassen plot.

Results: Dopamine D-2/3 receptor occupancies in the striatum were 22.6 +/- 18.0 and 84.0 +/- 3.5% (mean +/- SD) after administration of 0.1 and 1 mg/kg AG-0029, respectively. In several brain regions, the V-T values of [C-11]GSK-189254 were significantly reduced after pretreatment of rats with 1 or 10 mg/kg AG-0029. The H-3 receptor occupancies were 11.9 +/- 8.5 and 40.3 +/- 11.3% for the 1 and 10 mg/kg doses of AG-0029, respectively.

Conclusions: Target engagement of AG-0029 as an agonist at dopamine D-2/D-3 receptors and an antagonist at histamine H-3 receptors could be demonstrated in the rat brain with [C-11]raclopride and [C-11]GSK-189254 PET, respectively. The measured occupancy values reflect the previously reported high (subnanomolar) affinity of AG-0029 to D-2/D-3 and moderate (submicromolar) affinity to H-3 receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2287–2298
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular pharmaceutics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 22-Jun-2022


  • Parkinson's disease
  • anti-Parkinson drug
  • [C-11]raclopride
  • [C-11]GSK-189254
  • dopamine D-2 receptor
  • histamine H-3 receptor
  • dual-action pharmaceutical
  • pharmacokinetic modeling

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