We have synthesized three 123I-labeled histamine H3 receptor ligands, i.e., [123I]GR 190028, [123I]FUB 271, and [123I]iodoproxyfan, in moderate to good radiochemical yields via a Cu+-assisted I-for-123I exchange method. Biodistribution in the rat of these compounds revealed high hepatic and pulmonary uptake. Brain uptake was moderate, but for [123I]iodoproxyfan, brain uptake was high enough for a pilot single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) study in the rabbit. However, for this compound, the cerebral uptake could not be blocked by a pretreatment with [R]-α-methylhistamine, a selective, high-affinity histamine H3 receptor agonist, both in the SPECT study in the rabbit and in the biodistribution study in the rat. Apparently, [123I]iodoproxyfan is binding to a non-H3 receptor binding site. None of the three investigated compounds is suitable for use as a SPECT ligand for the H3 receptor in the brain. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.