For a few years the development of radiolabelled compounds has been focusing on visualization of physiological processes in the central nervous system. Receptors and enzymes represent the most important macromolecular targets. The principal task of the research group "radiopharmacology" consists of the characterization of novel ligands.
Prior to an application of a new compound in humans a multitude of preclinical experiments have to be performed in order to prove the suitability and the potential usefulness of the respective radiopharmaceutical.
These experiments range from receptor membrane assays via autoradiographic studies to chemical analyses for the determination of metabolic stability. In the case of promising results a more detailed in/ex vivo evaluation is performed. Parameters such as blood-brain-barrier penetration, organ distribution, uptake patterns, kinetics, and metabolism in various organs are determined. The results obtained from in vitro and in vivo studies allow to find potential structure-affinity relationships and may help to design future ligands