Tobacco-specific N'-nitrosamines (TSNA) are a unique class of systemic organ-specific carcinogens. The TSNA are formed by N-nitrosation of nicotine and of the minor tobacco alkaloids after harvesting of tobacco and during smoking. The N-nitrosation of anatabine leads to N'-nitrosoanatabine (NAT; 1-nitroso-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-2,3'-bipyridyl) which requires in-depth assays in laboratory animals other than the rat. Furthermore, delineation of its tissue distribution and metabolism is needed for structure:activity comparisons with other TSNA and for the assessment of potential human risk from this TSNA. We have, therefore, synthesized (+)[5-3H]NAT. 5-Bromo-3-pyridine-carboxaldehyde was condensed with ethyl carbamate prior to Diels-Alder reaction with 1,4-butadiene to give the racemic anatabine ring system. Hydrolysis followed by reduction with LiAlT4 and nitrosation, led to (+)[5-3H]NAT (60% yield, specific activity 266 mCi/mmol, radiochemical purity of >99%).