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Binding potential

In pharmacokinetics and receptor-ligand kinetics the binding potential (BP) is a combined measure of the density of "available" neuroreceptors and the affinity of a drug to that neuroreceptor.



Consider a ligand receptor binding system. Ligand with a concentration L associates with a receptor of concentration or availability R to form a ligand-receptor complex with concentration RL. The binding potential is then the ratio ligand-receptor complex to free ligand at equilibrium and in the limit of L tending to 0, and is given symbol BP:


This quantity, originally defined by Mintun[1], describes the capacity of a receptor to bind ligand. It is a limit (L << Ki) of the general receptor association equation:


and is thus also equivalent to:


These equations apply equally when measuring the total receptor density or the residual receptor density available after binding to second ligand - availability.

BP in Positron Emission Tomography

BP is a pivotal measure in the use of positron emission tomography (PET) to measure the density of "available" receptors, e.g. to assess the occupancy by drugs or to characterize neuropsychiatric diseases (yet, one should keep in mind that binding potential is a combined measure that depends on receptor density as well as on affinity). An overview of the related methodology is e.g. given in Laruelle et al (2002)[2]. Estimating BP with PET usually requires that a reference tissue is available. A reference tissue has negligible receptor density and its distribution volume should be the same as the distribution volume in the target region if all receptors were blocked. Although the BP can be measured in a relatively unbiased way by measuring the whole time course of labelled ligand association and blood radioactivity, this is practically not always necessary. Two other common measures have been derived, which involve assumptions, but result in measures that should correlate with BP: BP1 and BP2.

  • BP2: The "specific to nonspecific equilibrium partition coefficient", in the literature also denoted as V3''. This is the ratio of specifically bound to nondisplaceable tracer in brain tissue at true equilibrium. It can be calculated without arterial blood sampling. In the two-tissue compartment model: BP2 = k3 / k4 and BP2 = f2BP where f2 is the free fraction of the tracer in the first tissue compartment, i.e. a measure that depends on the nonspecific binding of the ligand in brain tissue
  • BP1: The ratio of specifically bound tracer to tracer in plasma at true equilibrium, in the literature also denoted BP'. Measuring BP1 includes measurements of radioactivity in plasma, including metabolite correction. From the two-tissue compartment model and by assuming there is only passive diffusion across the blood brain barrier, one obtains: BP1 = f1BP where f1 is the free fraction of the tracer in arterial plasma, i.e. a measure that depends on plasma binding. Measuring and dividing by f1 finally allows to obtain BP.

Definitions and Symbols

While BP1 and BP2 are nonambiguous symbols, BP is not. There are many publications in which BP denotes BP2. Generally, if there were no arterial samples ("noninvasive imaging"), BP denotes BP2.

Bmax: Total density of receptors = R + RL. In PET imaging, the amount of radioligand is usually very small (L << Ki, see above), thus B_{max} \approx R

k3 and k4: Transfer rate constants from the two tissue compartment model.

See also


  1. ^ Mark A. Mintun, Marcus E. Raichle, Michael R. Kilbourn, G. Frederick Wooten, Michael J. Welch (March 1984). "A quantitative model for the in vivo assessment of drug binding sites with positron emission tomography". Annals of Neurology 15 (3): 217-227.
  2. ^ Marc Laruelle, Mark Slifstein, Yiyun Huang (July 2002). "Positron emission tomography: imaging and quantification of neurotransporter availability". Methods 27 (3): 287–299. doi:10.1016/S1046-2023(02)00085-3.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Binding_potential". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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