BackgroundBisphosphonates possess strong affinity to bone. 99mTc bisphosphonate complexes are widely used for bone scintigraphy. For positron emission tomography (PET) bone imaging, Ga-68-based PET tracers based on bisphosphonates are highly desirable.FindingsTwo trimeric bisphosphonate conjugates of the triazacyclononane-phosphinate (TRAP) chelator were synthesized, labeled with Ga-68, and used for microPET imaging of bone in male Lewis rats. Both Ga-68 tracers show bone uptake and, thus, are suitable for PET bone imaging. Surprisingly, Ga-71 nuclear magnetic resonance data prove that Ga(III) is not located in the chelating cavity of TRAP and must therefore be bound by the conjugated bisphosphonate units.ConclusionThe intrinsic Ga-68 chelating properties of TRAP are not needed for Ga-68 PET bone imaging with TRAP-bisphosphonate conjugates. Here, TRAP serves only as a trimeric scaffold. For preparation of Ga-68-based bone seekers for PET, it appears sufficient to equip branched scaffolds with multiple bisphosphonate units, which serve both Ga-68-binding and bone-targeting purposes.