Radiotracers for molecular imaging of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme

O. Tietz, A. Marshall, M. Wuest, M. Wang, F. Wuest*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme is responsible for the formation of important biological mediators including prostaglandins, prostacyclin and thromboxane to trigger many physiological and patho-physiological responses. COXs exist in two distinct isoforms, a constitutively expressed form (COX-1) and an inducible form (COX-2). COX-2 is involved in the body's response to inflammation and pain. Moreover, it has also been shown that COX-2 is overexpressed in many human cancers, and that COX-2 is involved in various neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. COX-2 inhibitors are among the most widely used therapeutics for the treatment of chronic and acute pain and inflammation. Non-invasive monitoring of COX-2 functional expression by means of nuclear molecular imaging techniques like positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) might provide unique opportunities to obtain data on COX-2 expression levels during disease manifestation and progression to study potential roles of COX-2 under various pathological conditions. The present review summarizes recent research efforts directed to the design and synthesis of radiotracers as molecular probes with special emphasis on COX-2 imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4350-4369
Number of pages20
JournalCurrent Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cyclooxygenase-2
  • Molecular imaging
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Radiotracer
  • Single photon emission computed tomography


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