Autoradiography as a Simple and Powerful Method for Visualization and Characterization of Pharmacological Targets

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleCommunication

In vitro autoradiography aims to visualize the anatomical distribution of a protein of interest in tissue from experimental animals as well as humans. The method is based on the specific binding of a radioligand to its biological target. Therefore, frozen tissue sections are incubated with radioligand solution, and the binding to the target is subsequently localized by the detection of radioactive decay, for example, by using photosensitive film or phosphor imaging plates. Resulting digital autoradiograms display remarkable spatial resolution, which enables quantification and localization of radioligand binding in distinct anatomical structures. Moreover, quantification allows for the pharmacological characterization of ligand affinity by means of dissociation constants (Kd), inhibition constants (Ki) as well as the density of binding sites (Bmax) in selected tissues. Thus, the method provides information about both target localization and ligand selectivity. Here, the technique is exemplified with autoradiographic characterization of the high-affinity γ-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) binding sites in mammalian brain tissue, with special emphasis on methodological considerations regarding the binding assay parameters, the choice of the radioligand and the detection method.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number145
ISSN1940-087X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2019

ID: 216920141