Rapid solid-phase extraction method to quantify [11C]-verapamil, and its [11C]-metabolites, in human and macaque plasma

Jashvant D. Unadkat*, Francisco Chung, Lucy Sasongko, Dale Whittington, Sara Eyal, David Mankoff, Ann C. Collier, Mark Muzi, Jeanne Link

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Introduction: P-glycoprotein (P-gp), an efflux transporter, is a significant barrier to drug entry into the brain and the fetus. The positron emission tomography (PET) ligand, [11C]-verapamil, has been used to measure in vivo P-gp activity at various tissue-blood barriers of humans and animals. Since verapamil is extensively metabolized in vivo, it is important to quantify the extent of verapamil metabolism in order to interpret such P-gp activity. Therefore, we developed a rapid solid-phase extraction (SPE) method to separate, and then quantify, verapamil and its radiolabeled metabolites in plasma. Methods: Using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), we established that the major identifiable circulating radioactive metabolite of [11C]-verapamil in plasma of humans and the nonhuman primate, Macaca nemestrina, was [11C]-D-617/717. Using sequential and differential pH elution on C8 SPE cartridges, we developed a rapid method to separate [11C]-verapamil and [11C]-D-617/717. Recovery was measured by spiking the samples with the corresponding nonradioactive compounds and assaying these compounds by HPLC. Results: Verapamil and D-617/717 recovery with the SPE method was >85%. When the method was applied to PET studies in humans and nonhuman primates, significant plasma concentration of D-617/717 and unknown polar metabolite(s) were observed. The SPE and the HPLC methods were not significantly different in the quantification of verapamil and D-617/717. Conclusions: The SPE method simultaneously processes multiple samples in less than 5 min. Given the short half-life of [11C], this method provides a valuable tool to rapidly determine the concentration of [11C]-verapamil and its [11C]-metabolites in human and nonhuman primate plasma.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)911-917
Number of pages7
JournalNuclear Medicine and Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIH grants GM32165, MH063641 and HD47892.


  • Human
  • M. nemestrina
  • Macaque
  • Metabolites
  • P-Glycoprotein
  • PET
  • SPE
  • [C]-Verapamil


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