Uptake of three [3H]progestins by target tissues in vivo: Implications for the design of diagnostic imaging agents

Kathryn E. Carlson, Stephanie J. Brandes, Martin G. Pomper, John A. Katzenellenbogen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have investigated the tissue distribution of radioactivity for 0.5-4 h follwing the i.v. injection of three tritium-labeled progestins in estrogen-primed, immature rats. Whereas [3H]progesterone shows minimal uterine uptake (<0.7% injected dose per gram; %ID/g), the two higher affinity, synthetic progestins [3H]R 5020 (promegestrone) and [3H]ORG 2058 show highly selective uptake that reaches 4-5% ID/g by 1-3 h. The uterus to non-target tissue activity ratio at 2-4 h is approximately 12-20 for R 5020 and ORG 2058, but less than 2 for progesterone; the uterus to blood activity ratio for R 5020 is also high (approximately 15), but is lower for ORG 2058, possibly due to the accumulation of radiolabeled metabolites in the blood. The uterine uptake is selectively blocked by simultaneous injection of a large dose of unlabeled steroid, indicating that the uptake is mediated by a high affinity, low capacity binding system, presumably the progesterone receptor. Pronounced uptake is also observed by the liver and into fat, but is not receptor-mediated. The highly selective target tissue uptake by the two synthetic steroids, but not by progesterone, indicates that one must have ligands with sufficiently high affinity for the target tissue receptor, as well as low affinity for certain non-receptor binding proteins, in order to obtain adequate contrast between target and non-target tissues in dynamic uptake studies. These guidelines will be important in the development of suitable in vivo imaging agents based on the progesterone receptor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-408
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Applications and Instrumentation.
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Uptake of three [3H]progestins by target tissues in vivo: Implications for the design of diagnostic imaging agents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this