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A radioligand is a radioactive biochemical substance (in particular, a ligand) that is used for diagnosis or for research-oriented study of the receptor systems of the body.

The radioligand is injected into the pertinent tissue, or infused into the bloodstream. It binds to its receptor. When the radioactive isotope in the ligand decays it can be measured, e.g., by positron emission tomography.

The transport of the radioligand is described by receptor kinetics.


Radioligands are acredited for making possible the study of biomolecular behaviour, a previously mysterious area of research that had evaded researchers.[1] With this capacity radioligand techniques enabled researchers to identify receptor devices within cells.

Radioactive isotopes commonly used

main article: Radioactivity in biology

List of radioligands


See also


  1. Niehoff, Debra (2005). The Language of Life: How cells communicate in life & disease. Joseph Henry Press. ISBN 0309089891.
  2. Karen H. Adams, Lars H. Pinborg, Claus Svarer, S. G. Hasselbalch, Søren Holm, Steven Haugbøl, K. Madsen, Vibe G. Frøkjær, L. Martiny Olaf B. Paulson, Gitte Moos Knudsen (2004). "A database of [18F]-altanserin binding to 5-HT2A receptors in normal volunteers: normative data and relationship to physiological and demographic variables". NeuroImage. 21 (3): 1105–1113. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2003.10.046. ISSN 1053-8119. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. J. C. Baron, Y. Samson, D. Comar, C. Crouzel, P. Deniker, Y. Agid (1985). "Etude in vivo des recepteurs serotoninergiques centraux chez l'homme par tomographie a positions. [In vivo study of central serotoninergic receptors in man using positron tomography]". Revue Neurologique (in French). 141 (8&ndash, 9): 537&ndash, 545. PMID 2935920.