Impact of novel antidepressants on cardiac 123 I Metaiodobenzyl guanidine uptake: Experimental studies on SK-N-SH cells and healthy rabbits

Rudolf A. Werner, Ryohei Kobayashi, Mehrbod Som Javadi, Zoe Köck, Hiroshi Wakabayashi, Stefan Unterecker, Kenichi Nakajima, Constantin Lapa, Andreas Menke, Takahiro Higuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


123 I-metaiodobenzylguanidine ( 123 I-MIBG) has independent prognostic value for risk stratification among heart failure patients, but the use of concomitant medication should not affect its quantitative information. We evaluated whether the 4 classes of antidepressants currently most prescribed as first-line treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) have the potential to alter 123 I-MIBG imaging results. Methods: The inhibition effect of desipramine, escitalopram, venlafaxine, and bupropion on 131 I-MIBG uptake was assessed by in vitro uptake assays using human neuroblastoma SK-N-SH cells. The half-maximal inhibitory concentration of tracer uptake was determined from dose-response curves. To evaluate the effect of intravenous pretreatment with desipramine (1.5 mg/kg) and escitalopram (2.5 or 15 mg/kg) on 123 I-MIBG cardiac uptake, in vivo planar 123 I-MIBG scanning of healthy New Zealand White rabbits was performed. Results: The half-maximal inhibitory concentrations of desipramine, escitalopram, venlafaxine, and bupropion on 131 I-MIBG cellular uptake were 11.9 nM, 7.5 μM, 4.92 μM, and 12.9 μM, respectively. At the maximum serum concentration (as derived by previous clinical trials), the inhibition rates of 131 I-MIBG uptake were 90.6% for desipramine, 25.5% for venlafaxine, 11.7% for bupropion, and 0.72% for escitalopram. A low inhibition rate for escitalopram in the cell uptake study triggered investigation of an in vivo rabbit model: with a dosage considerably higher than used in clinical practice, the noninhibitory effect of escitalopram was confirmed. Furthermore, pretreatment with desipramine markedly reduced cardiac 123 I-MIBG uptake. Conclusion: In the present in vitro binding assay and in vivo rabbit study, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor escitalopram had no major impact on neuronal cardiac 123 I-MIBG uptake within therapeutic dose ranges, whereas other types of first-line antidepressants for MDD treatment led to a significant decrease. These preliminary results warrant further confirmatory clinical trials regarding the reliability of cardiac 123 I-MIBG imaging, in particular, if the patient's neuropsychiatric status would not tolerate withdrawal of a potentially norepinephrine-interfering antidepressant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1099-1103
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Antidepressant
  • Cardiac sympathetic nerve system
  • Depression
  • I-MIBG
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Myocardial sympathetic innervation imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of novel antidepressants on cardiac <sup>123</sup> I Metaiodobenzyl guanidine uptake: Experimental studies on SK-N-SH cells and healthy rabbits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this