Activation of adenosine A(1) receptors (A(1)R) in the brain causes sedation, reduces anxiety, inhibits seizures, and promotes neuroprotection. Cerebral A(1)R can be visualized using 8-dicyclopropylmethyl-1-C-11-methyl-3-propyl-xanthine (C-11-MPDX) and PET. This study aims to test whether C-11-MPDX can be used for quantitative studies of cerebral A1R in rodents. Methods: C-11-MPDX was injected (intravenously) into isoflurane-anesthetized male Wistar rats (300 g). A dynamic scan of the central nervous system was obtained, using a small-animal PET camera. A cannula in a femoral artery was used for blood sampling. Three groups of animals were studied: group 1, controls (saline-treated); group 2, animals pretreated with the A(1)R antagonist 8-cyclopentyl-1, 3-dipropylxanthine (DPCPX, 1 mg, intraperitoneally); and group 3, animals pretreated (intraperitoneally) with a 20% solution of ethanol in saline (2 mL) plus the adenosine kinase inhibitor 4-amino-5-(3-bromophenyl)-7-(6-morpholino-pyridin-3-yl)pyrido [2,3-d] pyrimidine dihydrochloride (ABT-702) (1 mg). DPCPX is known to occupy cerebral A1R, whereas ethanol and ABT-702 increase extracellular adenosine. Results: In groups 1 and 3, the brain was clearly visualized. High uptake of C-11-MPDX was noted in striatum, hippocampus, and cerebellum. In group 2, tracer uptake was strongly suppressed and regional differences were abolished. The treatment of group 3 resulted in an unexpected 40%-45% increase of the cerebral uptake of radioactivity as indicated by increases of PET standardized uptake value, distribution volume from Logan plot, nondisplaceable binding potential from 2-tissue-compartment model fit, and standardized uptake value from a biodistribution study performed after the PET scan. The partition coefficient of the tracer (K-1/k(2) from the model fit) was not altered under the study conditions. Conclusion: C-11-MPDX shows a regional distribution in rat brain consistent with binding to A(1)R. Tracer binding is blocked by the selective A(1)R antagonist DPCPX. Pretreatment of animals with ethanol and adenosine kinase inhibitor increases C-11-MPDX uptake. This increase may reflect an increased availability of A(1)R after acute exposure to ethanol.