A series of various N-substituted 3-(3-fluoropropyl)-3H-spiro[benzofuran-1,4'-piperidines] (7) has been synthesized. In receptor binding studies, the N-benzyl derivative 7a (WMS-1813) revealed extraordinarily high sigma(1) receptor affinity (K(i) = 1.4 nM) and excellent sigma(1)/sigma(2) selectivity (>600 fold). In vitro biotransformation of 7a with rat liver microsomes led to three main metabolites. N-Debenzylation was inhibited by introduction of an N-phenylethyl residue (7 g). The PET tracer [(18)F]7a was synthesized by nucleophilic substitution of the tosylate 13 with K[(18)F]F-K222-carbonate complex. The decay corrected radiochemical yield of [(18)F]7a was 35-48% with a radiochemical purity of >99.5% and a specific activity of 150-238 GBq/micromol. The radiotracer properties were evaluated in female CD-1 mice by organ distribution and ex vivo brain autoradiography. The radiotracer uptake in the brain was fast and sufficient, with values of approximately 4% injected dose per gram. Target specificity of [(18)F]7a was validated in blocking studies by preapplication of haloperidol, and significant reduction in the uptake of radioactivity was observed in the brain and peripheral organs expressing sigma(1) receptors.