Background and objective: The study of biodistribution and in situ pharmacokinetics is a challenging, but sometimes very important, aspect of premarketing characterization of drugs. We aimed to develop a non-invasive fluorine magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopic method for the absolute quantitation of a mono-fluorinated compound and of its metabolites in the heart and liver of healthy subjects for this purpose. Method: We used fluorine MR spectroscopy (MRS) at 4 T (Tesla) and external standardization in an open label multiple-dose study. Twenty-three healthy adult subjects were enrolled in the study. The surface coil localized fluorine MR spectrum was monitored in the heart and liver at baseline and after oral administration of multiple doses of tecastemizole. Steady-state measurements were made at set time points that depended upon dose, and washout measurements were made only on subjects in which in vivo fluorine signal was observed. Results and discussion: At 4 T, under the given experimental conditions, the method had a lower limit of quantitation (LLOQ) of about 2.6 μm and a limit of detection (LOD) of about 0.3 μm for solution state samples (linewidth approximately 15 Hz). The measurement reproducibility was 6.4% using a 50 μm phantom. The effect of MR operator and spectral analyst on the calculated calibration curve slope was small, with inter-rater correlation coefficients of 0.999 and 0.998 respectively. MR signal from fluorine-containing tecastemizole-related moieties was observed in situ only at day 8 in the liver of three of five subjects dosed at 270 mg/day. The average in situ concentration was estimated to be 58 ± 22 μm, with an average test-retest reproducibility of 216%. Extrapolating the in vitro results to human measurements, with an approximate linewidth of 250 Hz, predicts in situ LOD and LLOQ values of approximately 6 and 44 μm respectively. However, the human study had a fluorine MRS LOD of approximately 20 μm. The decrease in sensitivity and the increase in variability of the in vivo, in situ measurements compared with the validation study most likely arose from coil placement and incomplete rephasing of the MR signal by the respiratory phase compensation method. Conclusion: The measured concentrations were the lowest ever recorded for a multi-dose exogenous mono-fluorinated compound in the human liver using a validated fluorine MR quantitation method. The proposed non-invasive MR method for studying the biodistribution and in situ pharmacokinetics of mono-fluorinated compounds in the liver and heart should have broader application to the development of non-invasive biomarkers.
- Absolute quantitation
- In situ quantitation
- Magnetic resonance spectroscopy