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1.  Herpes Simplex Virus Thymidine Kinase Imaging in Mice with (1-(2’-deoxy-2’-[18F] fluoro-1-β-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-iodouracil) and metabolite (1-(2’-deoxy-2’-[18F] fluoro-1-β-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-uracil) 
FIAU, (1-(2’-deoxy-2’-fluoro-1-β-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-iodouracil) has been used as a substrate for herpes simplex virus thymidine kinases (HSV-TK and HSV-tk, for protein and gene expression respectively) and other bacterial and viral thymidine kinases for noninvasive imaging applications. Previous studies have reported the formation of a de-iodinated metabolite of 18F-FIAU. This study reports the dynamic tumor uptake, biodistribution and metabolite contribution to the activity of 18F-FIAU seen in HSV-tk gene expressing tumors and compares the distribution properties with its de-iodinated metabolite 18F-FAU.
CD-1 nu/nu mice with subcutaneous MH3924A and MH3924A-stb-tk+ xenografts on opposite flanks were used for the biodistribution and imaging studies. Mice were injected IV with either 18F-FIAU or 18F-FAU. Mice underwent dynamic imaging with each tracer for 65 min followed by additional static imaging up to 150 min post injection for some animals. Animals were sacrificed at 60 or 150 min post injection. Samples of blood and tissue were collected for biodistribution and metabolite analysis. Regions of interest were drawn over the images obtained from both tumors to calculate the time activity curves.
Biodistribution and imaging studies showed the highest uptake of 18F-FIAU in the MH3924A-stb-tk+ tumors. Dynamic imaging studies revealed a continuous accumulation of 18F-FIAU in HSV-TK expressing tumors over 60 min. The mean biodistribution values (SUV±SE) for MH3924A-stb-tk+ were 2.07±0.40, 6.15±1.58, and that of MH3924A tumors were 0.19±0.07, 0.47±0.06 at 60 and 150 min respectively. In 18F-FIAU injected mice, at 60 min nearly 63% of blood activity was present as its metabolite 18F-FAU. Imaging and biodistribution studies with 18F-FAU demonstrated no specific accumulation in MH3924A-stb-tk+ tumors and SUVs for both the tumors were similar to those observed with muscle.
18F-FIAU shows a continuous accumulation of activity in HSV-TK expressing tumors. 18F-FAU does not show any preferential accumulation in HSV-TK expressing tumors. In the 18F-FIAU treated mice, the 18F-FAU contribution to the total uptake seen in HSV-TK positive tumors is minimal.
PMCID: PMC3107601  PMID: 19506865
Fluorine-18; FIAU; HSV-TK; Gene Expression; Metabolism; PET Imaging
2.  Comparison of Cell-Labeling Methods with 124I-FIAU and 64Cu-PTSM for Cell Tracking Using Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Cells Expressing HSV1-tk and Firefly Luciferase 
Cell-tracking methods with molecular-imaging modality can monitor the biodistribution of cells. In this study, the direct-labeling method with 64Cu-pyruvaldehyde-bis(N4-methylthiosemicarbazone) (64Cu-PTSM), indirect cell-labeling methods with herpes simplex virus type 1-thymidine kinase (HSV1-tk)-mediated 124I-2′-fluoro-2′-deoxy-1-β-d-arabinofuranosyl-5-iodouracil (124I-FIAU) were comparatively investigated in vitro and in vivo for tracking of human chronic myelogenous leukemia cells. K562-TL was established by retroviral transduction of the HSV1-tk and firefly luciferase gene in the K562 cell. K562-TL cells were labeled with 64Cu-PTSM or 124I-FIAU. Cell labeling efficiency, viability, and radiolabels retention were compared in vitro. The biodistribution of radiolabeled K562-TL cells with each radiolabel and small-animal positron emission tomography imaging were performed. Additionally, in vivo and ex vivo bioluminescence imaging (BLI) and tissue reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis were used for confirming those results. K562-TL cells were efficiently labeled with both radiolabels. The radiolabel retention (%) of 124I-FIAU (95.2%±1.1%) was fourfold higher than 64Cu-PTSM (23.6%±0.7%) at 24 hours postlabeling. Viability of radiolabeled cells was statistically nonsignificant between 124I-FIAU and 64Cu-PTSM. The radioactivity of each radiolabeled cells was predominantly accumulated in the lungs and liver at 2 hours. Both the radioactivity of 64Cu-PTSM- and 124I-FIAU-labeled cells was highly accumulated in the liver at 24 hours. However, the radioactivity of 124I-FIAU-labeled cells was markedly decreased from the body at 24 hours. The K562-TL cells were dominantly localized in the lungs and liver, which also verified by BLI and RT-PCR analysis at 2 and 24 hours postinjection. The 64Cu-PTSM-labeled cell-tracking method is more efficient than 124I-FIAU-labeled cell tracking, because of markedly decrease of radioactivity and fast efflux of 124I-FIAU in vivo. In spite of a high labeling yield and radiolabel retention of 124I-FIAU in vitro, the in vivo cell-tracking method using 64Cu-PTSM could be a useful method to evaluate the distribution and targeting of various cell types, especially, stem cells and immune cells.
PMCID: PMC3516418  PMID: 23009582
gene transfer; molecular imaging; PET
3.  The Use of 14C-FIAU to Predict Bacterial Thymidine Kinase Presence: Implications for Radiolabeled FIAU Bacterial Imaging 
Nuclear medicine and biology  2013;40(5):638-642.
Currently available infectious disease imaging techniques cannot differentiate between infection and sterile inflammation or between different types of infections. Recently, radiolabeled FIAU was found to be a substrate for the thymidine kinase (TK) enzyme of multiple pathogenic bacteria, leading to its translational use in the imaging of bacterial infections. Patients with immunodeficiencies, however, are susceptible to a different group of pathogenic bacteria when compared to immunocompetent subjects. In this study, we wanted to predict the usefulness of radiolabeled FIAU in the detection of bacterial infections commonly occurring in patients with immunodeficiencies, in vitro, prior to attempting in vivo imaging with 124I-FIAU-PET.
We obtained representative strains of bacterial pathogens isolated from actual patients with genetic immunodeficiencies. We evaluated the bacterial susceptibility of different strains to the effect of incubation with FIAU, which would implicate the presence of the thymidine kinase (TK) enzyme. We also incubated the bacteria with 14C-FIAU and consequently measured its rate of incorporation in the bacterial DNA using a liquid scintillation counter.
Unlike the other bacterial strains, the growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was not halted by FIAU at any concentration. All the tested clinical isolates demonstrated different levels of 14C-FIAU uptake, except for P. aeruginosa.
Radiolabeled FIAU has been successful in delineating bacterial infections, both in preclinical and pilot translational studies. In patients with immunodeficiencies, Pseudomonas infections are commonly encountered and are usually difficult to differentiate from fungal infections. The use of radiolabeled FIAU for in vivo imaging of those patients, however, would not be useful, considering the apparent lack of TK enzyme in Pseudomonas. One has to keep in mind that not all pathogenic bacteria possess the TK enzyme and as such will not all retain FIAU. Our technique is simple, and can be easily used to assess whether a certain bacterial strain of interest can or cannot be visualized using radiolabeled FIAU.
PMCID: PMC3665620  PMID: 23541824
Bacterial imaging; PET; FIAU; thymidine kinase
4.  Noninvasive Molecular Imaging of Hypoxia in Human Xenografts: Comparing Hypoxia-Induced Gene Expression with Endogenous and Exogenous Hypoxia Markers 
Cancer research  2008;68(20):8597-8606.
Tumor hypoxia is important in the development and treatment of human cancers. We have developed a novel xenograft model for studying and imaging of hypoxia-induced gene expression. A hypoxia-inducible dual reporter herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase and enhanced green fluorescence protein (HSV1-TKeGFP), under the control of hypoxia response element (9HRE), was stably transfected into human colorectal HT29 cancer cells. Selected clones were further enriched by repeated live cell sorting gated for hypoxia-induced eGFP expression. Fluorescent microscopy, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, and radioactive substrate trapping assays showed strong hypoxia-induced expression of eGFP and HSV1-tk enzyme in the HT29-9HRE cells in vitro. Sequential micropositron emission tomography (PET) imaging of tumor-bearing animals, using the hypoxic cell tracer 18F-FMISO and the reporter substrate 124I-FIAU, yielded similar tumor hypoxia images for the HT29-9HRE xenograft but not in the parental HT29 tumor. Using autoradiography and IHC, detailed spatial distributions in tumor sections were obtained and compared for the following hypoxia-associated biomarkers in the HT29-9HRE xenograft: 124I-FIAU, 18F-FMISO, Hoechst (perfusion), lectin-TRITC (functional blood vessels), eGFP, pimonidazole, EF5, and CA9. Intratumoral distributions of 124I-FIAU and 18F-FMISO were similar, and eGFP, pimonidazole, EF5, and CA9 colocalized in the same areas but not in well-perfused regions that were positive for Hoechst and lectin-TRITC. In enabling the detection of hypoxia-induced molecular events and mapping their distribution in vivo with serial noninvasive positron emission tomography imaging, and multiple variable analysis with immunohistochemistry and fluorescence microscopy, this human xenograft model provides a valuable tool for studying tumor hypoxia and in validating existing and future exogenous markers for tumor hypoxia.
PMCID: PMC2724017  PMID: 18922936
5.  Different strategies for reducing intestinal background radioactivity associated with imaging HSV1-tk expression using established radionucleoside probes 
Molecular imaging  2010;9(1):47-58.
One limitation of HSV1-tk reporter PET imaging with nucleoside analogues is the high background radioactivity in the intestine. We hypothesized that endogenous expression of thymidine kinase in bacterial flora could phosphorylate and trap such radiotracers, contributing to the high radioactivity levels in the bowel and therefore explored different strategies to increase fecal elimination of radiotracer.
Intestinal radioactivity was assessed by in vivo microPET imaging and ex vivo tissue sampling following intravenous injection of 18F-FEAU, 124I-FIAU or 18F-FHBG in a germ-free mouse strain. We also explored the use of an osmotic laxative agent and/or a 100% enzymatically hydrolyzed liquid diet.
No significant differences in intestinal radioactivity were observed between germ-free and normal mice. 18F-FHBG-derived intestinal radioactivity levels were higher than those of 18F-FEAU and 124I-FIAU; the intestine-to-blood ratio was more than 20-fold higher for 18F-FHBG than for 18F-FEAU and 124I-FIAU. The combination of Peptamen and Nulytely lowered intestinal radioactivity levels and increased (2.2-fold) the HSV1-tk transduced xenograft-to-intestine ratio for 18F-FEAU.
Intestinal bacteria in germ-free mice do not contribute to the high intestinal levels of radioactivity following injection of radionucleoside analogs. The combination of Peptamen and Nulytely increased radiotracer elimination by increasing bowel motility without inducing dehydration.
PMCID: PMC3068838  PMID: 20128998
reporter gene imaging; HSV1-tk; PET imaging; bacteria; background radioactivity
6.  [125I]FIAU imaging in a preclinical model of lung infection: quantification of bacterial load 
2'-Fluoro-2'-deoxy-1β-D-arabinofuranosyl-5-[125I]iodouracil ([125I]FIAU), a substrate for the thymidine kinase (TK) present in most bacteria, has been used as an imaging agent for single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) in an experimental model of lung infection. Using SPECT-CT we show that [125I]FIAU is specific for bacterial infection rather than sterile inflammation. We report [125I]FIAU lung uptake values of 1.26 ± 0.20 percent injected dose per gram (%ID/g) in normal controls, 1.69 ± 0.32 %ID/g in lung inflammation and up to 7.14 ± 1.09 %ID/g in lung infection in ex vivo biodistribution studies at 24 h after intranasal administration of bacteria. Images of [125I]FIAU signal within lung can be used to estimate the number of bacteria present, with a limit of detection of 109 colony forming units per mL on the X-SPECT scanner. [125I]FIAU-Based bacterial imaging may be useful in preclinical models to facilitate the development of new antibiotics, particularly in cases where a corresponding human trial is planned.
PMCID: PMC3477740  PMID: 23133816
Inflammation; thymidine kinase; nucleoside; SPECT; PET; molecular imaging
7.  In Vivo characterization of a reporter gene system for imaging hypoxia-induced gene expression 
Nuclear medicine and biology  2009;36(7):821-831.
To characterize a tumor model containing a hypoxia-inducible reporter gene and to demonstrate utility by comparison of reporter gene expression to the uptake and distribution of the hypoxia tracer 18F-fluoromisonidazole (18F-FMISO).
I. Three tumors derived from the rat prostate cancer cell line R3327-AT were grown in each of two rats as follows: 1. parental R3327-AT, 2. positive control R3327-AT/PC in which the HSV1-tkeGFP fusion reporter gene was expressed constitutively, 3. R3327-AT/HRE in which the reporter gene was placed under the control of a HIF-responsive promoter sequence (HRE). Animals were co-administered a hypoxia-specific marker (pimonidazole) and the reporter gene probe 124I-2′-fluoro-2′-deoxy-1-ß-d-arabinofuranosyl-5-iodouracil (124I-FIAU) 3hr prior to sacrifice. Statistical analysis of the spatial association between 124I-FIAU uptake and pimonidazole fluorescent staining intensity was then performed on a pixel-by-pixel basis.
II. Utility of this system was demonstrated by assessment of reporter gene expression versus the exogenous hypoxia probe 18F-FMISO. Two rats, each bearing a single R3327-AT/HRE tumor, were injected with 124I-FIAU (3hr before sacrifice) and 18F-FMISO (2hr before sacrifice). Statistical analysis of the spatial association between 18F-FMISO and 124I-FIAU on a pixel-by-pixel basis was performed.
I. Correlation coefficients between 124I-FIAU uptake and pimonidazole staining intensity were: 0.11 in R3327-AT tumors, −0.66 in R3327-AT/PC and 0.76 in R3327-AT/HRE, confirming that only in the R3327-AT/HRE tumor was HSV1-tkeGFP gene expression associated with hypoxia.
II. Correlation coefficients between 18F-FMISO and 124I-FIAU uptakes in R3327-AT/HRE tumors were r= 0.56, demonstrating good spatial correspondence between the two tracers.
We have confirmed hypoxia-specific expression of the HSV1-tkeGFP fusion gene in the R3327-AT/HRE tumor model and demonstrated the utility of this model for the evaluation of radiolabeled hypoxia tracers.
PMCID: PMC2754273  PMID: 19720294
Hypoxia; cancer; reporter gene; nuclear medicine; PET tracer validation
8.  Radio-deoxynucleoside Analogs used for Imaging tk Expression in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Induced Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Theranostics  2012;2(6):597-606.
Purpose: A group of radiolabeled thymidine analogs were developed as radio-tracers for imaging herpes viral thymidine kinase (HSV1-tk) or its variants used as reporter gene. A transgenic mouse model was created to express tk upon liver injury or naturally occurring hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The purpose of this study was to use this unique animal model for initial testing with radio-labeled thymidine analogs, mainly a pair of newly emerging nucleoside analogs, D-FMAU and L-FMAU.
Methods: A transgeneic mouse model was created by putting a fused reporter gene system, firefly luciferase (luc) and HSV1-tk, under the control of mouse alpha fetoprotein (Afp) promoter. Initial multimodal imaging, which was consisted of bioluminescent imaging (BLI) and planar gamma scintigraphy with [125I]-FIAU, was used for examining the model creation in the new born and liver injury in the adult mice. Carcinogen diethylnitrosamine (DEN) was then administrated to induce HCC in these knock-in mice such that microPET imaging could be used to track the activity of Afp promoter during tumor development and progression by imaging tk expression first with [18F]-FHBG. Dynamic PET scans with D-[18F]-FMAU and L-[18F]-FMAU were then performed to evaluate this pair of relatively new tracers. Cells were derived from these liver tumors for uptake assays using H-3 labeled version of PET tracers.
Results: The mouse model with dual reporters: HSV1-tk and luc placed under the transcriptional control of an endogenous Afp promoter was used for imaging studies. The expression of the Afp gene was highly specific in proliferative hepatocytes, in regenerative liver, and in developing fetal liver, and thus provided an excellent indicator for liver injury and cancer development in adult mice. Both D-FMAU and L-FMAU showed stable liver tumor uptake where the tk gene was expressed under the Afp promoter. The performance of this pair of tracers was slightly different in terms of signal-to-background ratio as well as tracer clearance.
Conclusion: The newly created knock-in mouse model was used to demonstrate the use of the dual-reporter genes driven by well-characterized cancer-specific transcriptional units in conjunction with in vivo imaging as a paradigm in studying naturally occurring cancer in live animals. While BLI is suitable for small animal imaging with luc expression, PET with L-FMAU seemed be the choice for liver injury or liver cancer imaging with this animal model for future investigations.
PMCID: PMC3388592  PMID: 22768027
deoxynucleoside analogs; reporter gene imaging; hepatocellular carcinoma
9.  Functional Coexpression of HSV-1 Thymidine Kinase and Green Fluorescent Protein: Implications for Noninvasive Imaging of Transgene Expression 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  1999;1(2):154-161.
Current gene therapy technology is limited by the paucity of methodology for determining the location and magnitude of therapeutic transgene expression in vivo. We describe and validate a paradigm for monitoring therapeutic transgene expression by noninvasive imaging of the herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase (HSV-1-tk) marker gene expression. To test proportional coexpression of therapeutic and marker genes, a model fusion gene comprising green fluorescent protein (gfp) and HSV-1-tk genes was generated (tkgfp gene) and assessed for the functional coexpression of the gene product, TKGFP fusion protein, in rat 9L gliosarcoma, RG2 glioma, and W256 carcinoma cells. Analysis of the TKGFP protein demonstrated that it can serve as a therapeutic gene by rendering tkgfp transduced cells sensitive to ganciclovir or as a screening marker useful for identifying transduced cells by fluorescence microscopy or fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). TK and GFP activities in the TKGFP fusion protein were similar to corresponding wild-type proteins and accumulation of the HSV-1-tk-specific radiolabeled substrate, 2′-fluoro-2′-deoxy-1β-d-arabino-furanosyl-5-iodo-uracil (FIAU), in stability transduced clones correlated with gfp-fluorescence intensity over a wide range of expression levels. The tkgfp fusion gene itself may be useful in developing novel cancer gene therapy approaches. Valuable information about the efficiency of gene transfer and expression could be obtained by non-invasive imaging of tkgfp expression with FIAU and clinical imaging devices (gamma camera, positron-emission tomography [PET], single photon emission computed tomography [SPECT]), and/or direct visualization of gfp expression in situ by fluorescence microscopy or endoscopy.
PMCID: PMC1508134  PMID: 10933050
thymidine kinase; ganciclovir; FIAU; cancer gene therapy; fusion genes; imaging
10.  Imaging of Musculoskeletal Bacterial Infections by [124I]FIAU-PET/CT 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(10):e1007.
Traditional imaging techniques for the localization and monitoring of bacterial infections, although reasonably sensitive, suffer from a lack of specificity. This is particularly true for musculoskeletal infections. Bacteria possess a thymidine kinase (TK) whose substrate specificity is distinct from that of the major human TK. The substrate specificity difference has been exploited to develop a new imaging technique that can detect the presence of viable bacteria.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Eight subjects with suspected musculoskeletal infections and one healthy control were studied by a combination of [124I]FIAU-positron emission tomography and CT ([124I]FIAU-PET/CT). All patients with proven musculoskeletal infections demonstrated positive [124I]FIAU-PET/CT signals in the sites of concern at two hours after radiopharmaceutical administration. No adverse reactions with FIAU were observed.
[124I]FIAU-PET/CT is a promising new method for imaging bacterial infections.
PMCID: PMC1994593  PMID: 17925855
11.  Imaging TCR-Dependent NFAT-Mediated T-Cell Activation with Positron Emission Tomography In Vivo1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2001;3(6):480-488.
A noninvasive method for molecular imaging of T-cell activity in vivo would be of considerable value. It would aid in understanding the role of specific genes and signal transduction pathways in the course of normal and pathologic immune responses, and could elucidate temporal dynamics and immune regulation at different stages of disease and following therapy. We developed and assessed a novel method for monitoring the T-cell receptor (TCR)-dependent nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT)-mediated activation of T cells by optical fluorescence imaging (OFI) and positron emission tomography (PET). The herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase/green fluorescent protein [HSV1-tk/GFP (TKGFP)] dual reporter gene was used to monitor NFAT-mediated transcriptional activation in human Jurkat cells. A recombinant retrovirus bearing the NFAT-TKGFP reporter system was constructed in which the TKGFP reporter gene was placed under control of an artificial cis-acting NFAT-specific enhancer. Transduced Jurkat cells were used to establish subcutaneous infiltrates in nude rats. We demonstrated that noninvasive OFI and nuclear imaging of T-cell activation is feasible using the NFAT-TKGFP reporter system. PET imaging with [124I]FIAU using the NFAT-TKGFP reporter system is sufficiently sensitive to detect T-cell activation in vivo. PET images were confirmed by independent measurements of T-cell activation (e.g., CD69) and induction of GFP fluorescence. PET imaging of TCR-induced NFAT-dependent transcriptional activity may be useful in the assessment of T cell responses, T-cell-based adoptive therapies, vaccination strategies and immunosuppressive drugs.
PMCID: PMC1506564  PMID: 11774030
molecular imaging; T-cell activation; herpes virus type 1 thymidine kinase; FIAU; PET
12.  Fialuridine Induces Acute Liver Failure in Chimeric TK-NOG Mice: A Model for Detecting Hepatic Drug Toxicity Prior to Human Testing 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(4):e1001628.
Gary Peltz, Jeffrey Glenn, and colleagues report that a pre-clinical mouse toxicology model can detect liver toxicity of a drug that caused liver failure in several early clinical trial participants in 1993.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Seven of 15 clinical trial participants treated with a nucleoside analogue (fialuridine [FIAU]) developed acute liver failure. Five treated participants died, and two required a liver transplant. Preclinical toxicology studies in mice, rats, dogs, and primates did not provide any indication that FIAU would be hepatotoxic in humans. Therefore, we investigated whether FIAU-induced liver toxicity could be detected in chimeric TK-NOG mice with humanized livers.
Methods and Findings
Control and chimeric TK-NOG mice with humanized livers were treated orally with FIAU 400, 100, 25, or 2.5 mg/kg/d. The response to drug treatment was evaluated by measuring plasma lactate and liver enzymes, by assessing liver histology, and by electron microscopy. After treatment with FIAU 400 mg/kg/d for 4 d, chimeric mice developed clinical and serologic evidence of liver failure and lactic acidosis. Analysis of liver tissue revealed steatosis in regions with human, but not mouse, hepatocytes. Electron micrographs revealed lipid and mitochondrial abnormalities in the human hepatocytes in FIAU-treated chimeric mice. Dose-dependent liver toxicity was detected in chimeric mice treated with FIAU 100, 25, or 2.5 mg/kg/d for 14 d. Liver toxicity did not develop in control mice that were treated with the same FIAU doses for 14 d. In contrast, treatment with another nucleotide analogue (sofosbuvir 440 or 44 mg/kg/d po) for 14 d, which did not cause liver toxicity in human trial participants, did not cause liver toxicity in mice with humanized livers.
FIAU-induced liver toxicity could be readily detected using chimeric TK-NOG mice with humanized livers, even when the mice were treated with a FIAU dose that was only 10-fold above the dose used in human participants. The clinical features, laboratory abnormalities, liver histology, and ultra-structural changes observed in FIAU-treated chimeric mice mirrored those of FIAU-treated human participants. The use of chimeric mice in preclinical toxicology studies could improve the safety of candidate medications selected for testing in human participants.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Before new drugs are approved for clinical use, they undergo extensive preclinical (laboratory-based) and clinical testing. In the preclinical studies, scientists investigate the causes of diseases, identify potential new drugs, and test promising drug candidates in animals. Animal testing is performed to determine whether the new drug is likely to work, and to screen for drug-induced toxicity. In preclinical toxicology studies, new drugs are given to two or more animal species to find out whether the drug has any short- or long-term toxic effects such as damage to the liver (hepatotoxicity). Drugs that pass these animal tests enter clinical trials. Phase I clinical trials test new drugs in a handful of healthy volunteers or patients to evaluate their safety and to identify possible side effects. In phase II trials, a larger group of patients receives the new drug to evaluate its safety further and to get an initial idea of its effectiveness. Finally, in phase III trials, very large groups of patients are randomly assigned to receive the new drug or an established treatment for their disease. These randomized controlled trials provide detailed information about the effectiveness and safety of a candidate drug, and must be completed before a drug can be approved for clinical use.
Why Was This Study Done?
Since animals are not perfect models for people, candidate drugs can cause toxicities in clinical trials that were not predicted by preclinical toxicology testing performed using animal species. For example, in 1993, 15 participants in a phase II trial were given a nucleoside analogue called fialuridine to treat hepatitis B virus infection (nucleoside analogues often have antiviral activity). Seven participants developed liver failure and lactic acidosis (buildup of lactic acid in the blood). Analysis of liver tissue from the affected participants revealed steatosis (fatty degeneration), intracellular fat droplets, and swollen mitochondria (these organelles are the powerhouses of the cell). Five participants subsequently died, and two had to have a liver transplant. In preclinical toxicology testing in mice, rats, dogs, and primates, there had been no indications that fialuridine would be hepatotoxic in people. It now seems that the expression of a nucleoside transporter in the mitochondria of humans but not of other animals may underlie the human-specific mitochondrial toxicity and hepatotoxicity of fialuridine. With several other nucleoside analogues in development, a better screening tool for human-specific mitochondrial toxicity is needed. In this study, the researchers investigate whether fialuridine toxicity can be detected in TK-NOG mice with chimeric (humanized) livers. TK-NOG mice are immunodeficient mice that have been genetically engineered so that human liver cells (hepatocytes) transplanted into these animals establish a long-lived mature “human organ.”
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers treated chimeric (with transplanted human liver cells) and control (without transplanted human liver cells) TK-NOG mice with several doses of fialuridine. After treatment with the highest dose (1,600-fold above the dose used in the phase II trial) for four days, the chimeric mice developed liver failure and lactic acidosis. Moreover, steatosis and lipid and mitochondrial abnormalities developed in the regions of their livers that contained human hepatocytes but not in regions that contained mouse hepatocytes. Notably, the control mice had not developed liver toxicity after 14 days of treatment with the highest dose of drug. Liver toxicity was also easily detectable in chimeric mice that had been treated for 14 days with a fialuridine dose only 10-fold above that used in the human trial. Treatment with another nucleoside analogue that does not cause liver toxicity in people did not cause liver toxicity in the chimeric mice.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that fialuridine-induced liver toxicity can be readily detected using TK-NOG mice that have humanized livers at drug doses only 10-fold higher than those that caused liver failure in the phase II trial. Although the liver toxicity developed much more quickly in these mice than in the human trial participants, the clinical features, laboratory abnormalities, and structural changes seen in the fialuridine-treated chimeric TK-NOG mice closely mirrored those seen in fialuridine-treated people. The use of TK-NOG mice containing humanized livers in toxicology testing will not reveal whether drugs have human-specific toxicities outside the liver. Since they are highly immunocompromised, chimeric TK-NOG mice cannot be used to detect immune-mediated drug toxicities. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that the use of chimeric mice in toxicology studies could help improve the safety of candidate drugs that are tested in humans.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US Food and Drug Administration, the body that approves drugs for clinical use in the US, provides an overview for patients about the drug development process from the laboratory to the clinic
The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) provides more detailed information for patients and the public about the drug development process, including a section on preclinical research, which includes information on animal testing
The US National Institutes of Health provides information about clinical trials, including personal stories from people who have taken part in clinical trials
The UK National Health Service Choices website has information for patients about clinical trials and medical research, including personal stories about participation in clinical trials
Understanding Animal Research is a UK advocacy group that provides information about the importance of animal research to the public, teachers, scientists, journalists, and policy makers
Wikipedia has a page on animal testing (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC3988005  PMID: 24736310
13.  Bacterial Thymidine Kinase as a Non-Invasive Imaging Reporter for Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Live Animals 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(7):e6297.
Bacteria can be selectively imaged in experimentally-infected animals using exogenously administered 1-(2′deoxy-2′-fluoro-β-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-[125I]-iodouracil ([125I]-FIAU), a nucleoside analog substrate for bacterial thymidine kinase (TK). Our goal was to use this reporter and develop non-invasive methods to detect and localize Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We engineered a M. tuberculosis strain with chromosomally integrated bacterial TK under the control of hsp60 - a strong constitutive mycobacterial promoter. [125I]FIAU uptake, antimicrobial susceptibilities and in vivo growth characteristics were evaluated for this strain. Using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), M. tuberculosis Phsp60 TK strain was evaluated in experimentally-infected BALB/c and C3HeB/FeJ mice using the thigh inoculation or low-dose aerosol infection models. M. tuberculosis Phsp60 TK strain actively accumulated [125I]FIAU in vitro. Growth characteristics of the TK strain and susceptibility to common anti-tuberculous drugs were similar to the wild-type parent strain. M. tuberculosis Phsp60 TK strain was stable in vivo and SPECT imaging could detect and localize this strain in both animal models tested.
We have developed a novel tool for non-invasive assessment of M. tuberculosis in live experimentally-infected animals. This tool will allow real-time pathogenesis studies in animal models of TB and has the potential to simplify preclinical studies and accelerate TB research.
PMCID: PMC2706987  PMID: 19606217
14.  Cytoplasmically Retargeted HSV1-tk/GFP Reporter Gene Mutants for Optimization of Noninvasive Molecular-Genetic Imaging 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2003;5(3):245-254.
To optimize the sensitivity of imaging HSV1-tk/GFP reporter gene expression, a series of HSV1-tk/GFP mutants was developed with altered nuclear localization and better cellular enzymatic activity, compared to that of the native HSV1-tk/GFP fusion protein (HSV1-tk/GFP). Several modifications of HSV1-tk/GFP reporter gene were performed, including targeted inactivating mutations in the nuclear localization signal (NLS), the addition of a nuclear export signal (NES), a combination of both mutation types, and a truncation of the first 135 bp of the native hsv1-tk coding sequence containing a “cryptic” testicular promoter and the NLS. A recombinant HSV1-tk/GFP protein and a highly sensitive sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for HSV1-tk/GFP were developed to quantitate the amount of reporter gene product in different assays to allow normalization of the data. These different mutations resulted in various degrees of nuclear clearance, predominant cytoplasmic distribution, and increased total cellular enzymatic activity of the HSV1-tk/GFP mutants, compared to native HSV1-tk/GFP when expressed at the same levels. This appears to be the result of improvedmetabolic bioavailability of cytoplasmically retargeted mutant HSV1-tk/GFP enzymes for reaction with the radiolabeled probe (e.g., FIAU). The analysis of enzymatic properties of different HSV1-tk/GFP mutants using FIAU as a substrate revealed no significant differences from that of the native HSV1-tk/GFP. Improved total cellular enzymatic activity of cytoplasmically retargeted HSV1-tk/GFP mutants observed in vitro was confirmed by noninvasive imaging of transduced subcutaneous tumor xenografts bearing these reporters using [131I]FIAU and a γ-camera.
PMCID: PMC1502405  PMID: 12869307
molecular imaging; herpes virus type one thymidine kinase; green fluorescent protein; FIAU; PET
15.  An improved strategy for the synthesis of [18F]-labeled arabinofuranosyl nuclosides 
Nuclear medicine and biology  2012;39(8):1182-1188.
The expression of the herpes simplex virus type-1 thymidine kinase (HSV1-tk) gene can be imaged efficaciously using a variety of 2′-[18F]fluoro-2′-deoxy-1-b-D-arabinofuranosyl-uracil derivatives [[18F]-FXAU, X= I(iodo), E(ethyl), and M(methyl)]. However, the application of these derivatives in clinical and translational studies has been impeded by their complicated and long syntheses (3–5 h). To remedy these issues, in the study at hand we have investigated whether microwave or combined catalysts could facilitate the coupling reaction between sugar and nucleobase and, further, have probed the feasibility of establishing a novel approach for [18F]-FXAU synthesis.
We have demonstrated that the rate of the trimethylsilyl trifluoromethanesulfonate (TMSOTf)-catalyzed coupling reaction between the 2-deoxy-sugar and uracil derivatives at 90°C can be significantly accelerated by microwave-driven heating or by the addition of Lewis acid catalyst (SnCl4). Further, we have observed that the stability of the α- and β-anomers of [18F]-FXAU derivatives differs during the hydrolysis step. Using the microwave-driven heating approach, overall decay-corrected radiochemical yields of 19–27% were achieved for [18F]-FXAU in 120 min at a specific activity of >22 MBq/nmol (595 Ci/mmol). Ultimately, we believe that these high yielding syntheses of [18F]-FIAU, [18F]-FMAU and [18F]-FEAU will facilitate routine production for clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3517724  PMID: 22819195
16.  Sensitive and specific radioimmunoassay for fialuridine: initial assessment of pharmacokinetics after single oral doses to healthy volunteers. 
Fialuridine (FIAU) is a halogen-substituted analog of thymidine that was undergoing clinical investigation as a drug for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B viral infection. However, clinical trials of FIAU were terminated after adverse events occurred following chronic oral administration. Prior to the termination of clinical trials, a sensitive assay was needed for the measurement of FIAU because of the anticipated low dose administered to patients. We therefore undertook the development of a radioimmunoassay (RIA). A specific antiserum was raised in rabbits following immunization with a 5'-O-hemisuccinate analog of FIAU coupled to keyhole limpet hemocyanin. Radiolabeled FIAU was synthesized by a destannylation procedure by using sodium [125I]iodide. We developed a competitive-binding procedure and used precipitation with polyethylene glycol as the method for separating the bound and free forms of FIAU. The RIA is sensitive (0.2 ng/ml), specific (negligible interference from known metabolites and endogenous nucleosides), and reproducible (interassay coefficients of variation range from 5 to 19.7% for serum controls). We used the RIA to assess the pharmacokinetics of FIAU in healthy adult volunteers following administration of a single 5-mg oral dose. The sensitivity of the RIA permitted the detection of a prolonged elimination phase for FIAU in healthy volunteers and dogs, with mean elimination half-lives of 29.3 and 35.3 h, respectively. We conclude the RIA is a valid method for the quantification of FIAU in biological fluids.
PMCID: PMC284697  PMID: 7811032
17.  Activities of 1-(2-deoxy-2-fluoro-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-iodocytosine and its metabolites against herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 in cell culture and in mice infected intracerebrally with herpes simplex virus type 2. 
As measured by plaque and yield reduction assays, several metabolites of 1-(2-deoxy-2-fluoro-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-iodocytosine (FIAC) were highly active against herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2. These metabolites included the 2'-deoxy-2'-fluoroarabinosyl derivatives of 5-iodouracil (FIAU), cytosine (FAC), uracil (FAU), and thymine (FMAU). In mice inoculated intracerebrally with herpes simplex virus type 2, the relative order of potency of these compounds and licensed antiviral drugs was as follows: FMAU much greater than FIAC approximately equal to FIAU greater than acyclovir approximately equal to vidarabine much greater than FAC approximately equal to FAU. One of the main metabolites of FMAU, 2'-fluoro-5-hydroxymethyl-arabinosyluracil, was essentially inactive in vivo. FIAC-, FIAU-, FMAU-, FAC-, and FAU-resistant herpes simplex virus variants prepared in cell culture were found to be (i) devoid of viral thymidine kinase, (ii) cross-resistant to one another and resistant to drugs requiring viral thymidine kinase for activation, and (iii) sensitive to vidarabine or phosphonoformate. These results indicate that FIAC, FIAU, and FMAU require the virally encoded thymidine kinase for activation and suggest that the antiviral activity of FAU and FAC in cell cultures is also mediated by this enzyme. The interaction of the fluoroarabinosyl pyrimidine nucleosides with herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase in a cell-free system is also described.
PMCID: PMC180368  PMID: 3015003
18.  Drug resistance patterns of herpes simplex virus isolates from patients treated with acyclovir. 
A decrease in the in vitro sensitivity to acyclovir (ACV) was observed in successive isolates of herpes simplex virus type 1 from three immunocompromised patients during intravenous therapy with this drug. The ACV-resistant isolate from patient 1 was cross-resistant to dihydroxypropoxymethylguanine and bromovinyldeoxyuridine, but still susceptible to three fluoro-substituted pyrimidines, 2'-fluoro-5-iodo-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine (FIAC), 2'-fluoro-5-iodo-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosyluracil (FIAU), and 2'-fluoro-5-iodo-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosylthymine (FMAU). The thymidine kinase (TK) from the resistant isolate showed a 50-fold or greater reduction in affinity for thymidine, FIAU, FMAU, and ACV, but the total enzyme activity was similar to that of the sensitive isolate. The ACV-resistant isolate from patient 2 was also resistant to dihydroxypropoxymethylguanine, bromovinyldeoxyuridine, and the fluoro-substituted compounds; TK activity for this isolate was less than 1% of the patient's pretherapy isolate. An isolate obtained during a subsequent recurrence in patient 2 was susceptible to ACV and the other TK-dependent agents. The ACV-resistant isolate from patient 3 was partially resistant to FIAC and FIAU but still susceptible to FMAU; the viral TK had a 10-fold-lower affinity for ACV, FIAU, and FMAU than did the sensitive pretherapy isolate, while the level of TK activity detected was reduced to 6%. In none of the isolates studied was a change in sensitivity to phosphonoformic acid observed. Compared with the corresponding pretherapy ACV-sensitive isolates, there was a 30-fold decrease in neurovirulence for mice of the two drug-resistant isolates with diminished levels of thymidine-phosphorylating activity and no change in virulence for the third isolate. These findings indicate that mixed patterns of drug-resistance to TK-dependent antiviral compounds can occur in clinical isolates, resulting from changes in either the amount or the affinity of viral TK activity.
PMCID: PMC180320  PMID: 3002245
19.  Ready for prime time? Dual tracer PET and SPECT imaging 
Dual isotope single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and dual tracer positron emission tomography (PET) imaging have great potential in clinical and molecular applications in the pediatric as well as the adult populations in many areas of brain, cardiac, and oncologic imaging as it allows the exploration of different physiological and molecular functions (e.g., perfusion, neurotransmission, metabolism, apoptosis, angiogenesis) under the same physiological and physical conditions. This is crucial when the physiological functions studied depend on each other (e.g., perfusion and metabolism) hence requiring simultaneous assessment under identical conditions, and can reduce greatly the quantitation errors associated with physical factors that can change between acquisitions (e.g., human subject or animal motion, change in the attenuation map as a function of time) as is detailed in this editorial. The clinical potential of simultaneous dual isotope SPECT, dual tracer PET and dual SPECT/PET imaging are explored and summarized. In this issue of AJNMMI (, Chapman et al. explore the feasibility of simultaneous and sequential SPECT/PET imaging and conclude that down-scatter and crosstalk from 511 keV photons preclude obtaining useful SPECT information in the presence of PET radiotracers. They report on an alternative strategy that consists of performing sequential SPECT and PET studies in hybrid microPET/SPECT/CT scanners, now widely available for molecular imaging. They validate their approach in a phantom consisting of a 96-well plate with variable 99mTc and 18F concentrations and illustrate the utility of such approaches in two sequential SPECT-PET/CT studies that include 99mTc-MAA/18F-NaF and 99mTc-Pentetate/18F-NaF. These approaches will need to be proven reproducible, accurate and robust to variations in the experimental conditions before they can be accepted by the molecular imaging community and be implemented in routine molecular microPET and microSPECT explorations. Although currently not accepted as standard procedures in the molecular imaging community, such approaches have the potential to open the way to new SPECT/PET explorations that allow studying molecular mechanisms and pathways in the living animal under similar physiological conditions. Although still premature for the clinical setting, these approaches can be extended to clinical research once proven accurate and precise in vivo in small and large animal models.
PMCID: PMC3484417  PMID: 23145358
Dualisotope; dual tracer; positron emission tomography (PET); single photon emission tomography (SPECT); quantitative imaging
20.  Effect of fialuridine on replication of mitochondrial DNA in CEM cells and in human hepatoblastoma cells in culture. 
Fialuridine (FIAU) is a nucleoside analog with potent activity against hepatitis B virus in vitro and in vivo. In this report, the effect of FIAU on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication in vitro was investigated. CEM cells, a cell line derived from human T cells, were incubated for 6 days in up to 20 microM FIAU. Total cellular DNA was isolated, normalized for the number of cells, and slot hybridized to a probe specific for mtDNA sequences. Treatment of CEM cells with FIAU did not result in a dose-dependent decrease in the amount of mtDNA. In contrast, dideoxycytidine (ddC) inhibited mtDNA replication by 50% at a concentration of approximately 0.1 microM. After 6 days of incubation, both compounds displayed a 50% toxic dose at a concentration of approximately 2 microM in CEM cells and approximately 34 microM in human hepatoblastoma cells (HepG2). In further experiments, CEM cells were incubated for 15 days in up to 2.5 microM FIAU, and again, no inhibition of mtDNA was observed. Over a 6-day incubation, FIAU, at concentrations of up to 200 microM, also failed to inhibit mtDNA replication in either HepG2 or HepG2 cells which constitutively replicate duck hepatitis B virus. In contrast, ddC inhibited mtDNA replication in these cells with a 50% inhibitory concentration of approximately 0.2 microM over a 6-day incubation. Treatment of cells with either FIAU or ddC resulted in a dose-dependent increase in lactate levels in the cell medium, indicating that any effect of FIAU on mitochondrial function may not be related to inhibition of mtDNA replication on the basis of the in vitro data. Alternative explanations for mitochondrial toxicity are considered.
PMCID: PMC284674  PMID: 7811009
21.  Bortezomib-induced enzyme-targeted radiotherapy in herpesvirus-associated tumors 
Nature medicine  2008;14(10):1118-1122.
We investigated the possibility of using a pharmacologic agent to modulate viral gene expression in order to target radiotherapy to tumor tissue. In a murine xenograft model, we had previously shown targeting of [125I]2'-fluoro-2'-deoxy-beta-D-5-iodouracilarabinofuranoside ([125I]FIAU) to tumors engineered to express the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-thymidine kinase (TK). Here we extend those results to targeting of a therapeutic radiopharmaceutical [131I]FIAU to slow or stop tumor growth or to achieve tumor regression. These outcomes were achieved in xenografts with tumors that constitutively expressed the EBV-TK, as well as with naturally-infected EBV tumor cell lines. Burkitt's lymphoma and gastric carcinoma required activation of viral gene expression by pretreatment with bortezomib. Marked changes in tumor growth could also be achieved in naturally-infected Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) tumors following bortezomib activation. Bortezomib-induced enzyme-targeted radiation (BETR) therapy illustrates the possibility of pharmacologically modulating tumor gene expression to effect targeted radiotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2709824  PMID: 18776891
22.  Priming of duck hepatitis B virus reverse transcription in vitro: premature termination of primer DNA induced by the 5'-triphosphate of fialuridine. 
Journal of Virology  1994;68(12):8265-8269.
Hepadnaviruses employ a unique mechanism for the initiation of RNA-directed DNA synthesis. Initially, four bases (5'-GTAA-3') are added to a tyrosine residue of the viral polymerase by reverse transcription of a bulge sequence in epsilon, a stem-loop structure which functions as the packaging signal for pregenomic RNA. This protein-DNA complex acts as the primer for minus-strand elongation from the 3' sequence, DR1. To understand this process in greater detail, we investigated whether the protein-mediated priming of viral DNA synthesis is affected by nucleotide analogs. By using cell-free expression of duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) reverse transcriptase (G.-H. Wang and C. Seeger, Cell 71:663-670, 1992), the 5'-triphosphate of the thymidine analog fialuridine (FIAU) was shown to inhibit the incorporation of radiolabeled TMP into primer DNA in a dose-dependent manner. Inhibition by the 5'-triphosphate of FIAU (FIAU-TP) was nearly complete at a concentration of 10 microM. The dideoxynucleotide analogs ddGTP, ddTTP, and 3'-azidodeoxythymidine triphosphate, known inhibitors of DHBV endogenous DNA polymerase, did not affect substantially the synthesis of primer DNA. Alternate substrate analysis suggested that FIAU is incorporated efficiently into nascent primer DNA as an analog of thymidine. Using site-directed mutagenesis to construct a mutant RNA template yielding a primer with the sequence 5'-GTAC-3', we demonstrated that FIAU-TP inhibited the incorporation of TMP, had no effect on that of dAMP, and decreased markedly the incorporation of dCMP. These results show that the synthesis of full-length DHBV primer DNA is inhibited by FIAU-TP but not by the dideoxynucleotide analogs that we tested. The significance of these findings as they relate to HBV DNA replication is discussed.
PMCID: PMC237293  PMID: 7525986
23.  Biotransformation and elimination of [2-14C]-1-(2-deoxy-2'-fluoro-beta-D -arabinofuranosyl)-5-iodocytosine in immunosuppressed patients with herpesvirus infections. 
The metabolism of the drug [2-14C]-1-(2'-deoxy-2'-fluoro-beta-D -arabinofuranosyl)-5-iodocytosine (FIAC), a potent inhibitor of herpesvirus replication, was studied in immunosuppressed patients with herpesvirus infections. FIAC was administered intravenously by 15-min infusion and by mouth 24 h later to four patients at doses of 50 or 100 mg/m2. FIAC was cleared from the plasma primarily by biotransformation in liver, kidney, and peripheral blood, with a terminal-phase half-life of 0.92 to 1.80 h (mean, 1.36 h) after intravenous administration. The area under the concentration-time curve from zero to infinity (AUC0-infinity) for FIAC was 1.6 to 4.7% (mean, 3.4%) of the AUC0-infinity for total radioactivity. 1-(2'-Deoxy-2'-fluoro-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-iodouracil (FIAU) was the major metabolite; the AUC0-infinity for FIAU was 54.3 to 72.5% (mean, 63.4%) of the AUC0-infinity for total radioactivity. The terminal-phase half-life for FIAU was 3.32 to 4.49 h (mean, 3.91 h); FIAU was cleared from plasma by renal elimination and further biotransformation. lesser amounts of 1-(2'-deoxy-2'-fluoro-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl)uracil, 1-(2'-deoxy-2'-fluoro-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl)cytosine, the glucuronide conjugates of these metabolites, and the glucuronide conjugates of FIAC and FIAU were also formed. A comparison of the AUC0-infinity for total radioactivity after intravenous and oral administration suggested that nearly all of the oral dose was absorbed. Plasma levels of FIAU, also a potent inhibitor of herpesvirus replication in vitro, exceeded the 50% effective dose for herpes simplex virus and varicella-zoster virus as late as 12 h after administration of FIAC.
PMCID: PMC180143  PMID: 2990323
24.  In vivo trafficking and immunostimulatory potential of an intranasally-administered primary dendritic cell-based vaccine 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:60.
Coccidioidomycosis or Valley fever is caused by a highly virulent fungal pathogen: Coccidioides posadasii or immitis. Vaccine development against Coccidioides is of contemporary interest because a large number of relapses and clinical failures are reported with antifungal agents. An efficient Th1 response engenders protection. Thus, we have focused on developing a dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccine for coccidioidomycosis. In this study, we investigated the immunostimulatory characteristics of an intranasal primary DC-vaccine in BALB/c mouse strain that is most susceptible to coccidioidomycosis. The DCs were transfected nonvirally with Coccidioides-Ag2/PRA-cDNA. Expression of DC-markers, Ag2/PRA and cytokines were studied by flow cytometry, dot-immunoblotting and cytometric bead array methods, respectively. The T cell activation was studied by assessing the upregulation of activation markers in a DC-T cell co-culture assay. For trafficking, the DCs were co-transfected with a plasmid DNA encoding HSV1 thymidine kinase (TK) and administered intranasally into syngeneic mice. The trafficking and homing of TK-expressing DCs were monitored with positron emission tomography (PET) using 18F-FIAU probe. Based on the PET-probe accumulation in vaccinated mice, selected tissues were studied for antigen-specific response and T cell phenotypes using ELISPOT and flow cytometry, respectively.
We found that the primary DCs transfected with Coccidioides-Ag2/PRA-cDNA were of immature immunophenotype, expressed Ag2/PRA and activated naïve T cells. In PET images and subsequent biodistribution, intranasally-administered DCs were found to migrate in blood, lung and thymus; lymphocytes showed generation of T effector memory cell population (TEM) and IFN-γ release.
In conclusion, our results demonstrate that the intranasally-administered primary DC vaccine is capable of inducing Ag2/PRA-specific T cell response. Unique approaches utilized in our study represent an attractive and novel means of producing and evaluating an autologous DC-based vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3018378  PMID: 21143974
25.  Efficacy and selectivity of some nucleoside analogs as anti-human cytomegalovirus agents. 
1-(2'-Deoxy-2'-fluoro-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-iodocytosine (FIAC), 1-(2'-deoxy-2'-fluoro-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-methyluridine (FMAU), 1-(2'-deoxy-2'-fluoro-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-iodouridine (FIAU), and 1-(2'-deoxy-2'-fluoro-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-ethyluridine (FEAU) were evaluated for antiviral activities against human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and compared with 9-[(2-hydroxyethoxy)methyl]guanine (acyclovir) and E-5-(2'-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine (BVDU). The relative anti-HCMV potencies of these compounds, as determined by calculating the dose of drug which inhibited 50% plaque formation, were in order of decreasing potency: FIAC greater than FIAU greater than FMAU greater than acyclovir greater than FEAU greater than BVDU. The antiviral activity of FIAC occurred at levels much lower than those that caused cytotoxic or cytostatic effects in uninfected fibroblasts. Neither thymidine nor deoxycytidine reversed the anti-HCMV activity of FIAC, indicating that this drug was not acting as an analog of the natural nucleosides. FIAC was not phosphorylated by cytosols of HCMV-infected cells to a greater extent that by those of uninfected cells, indicating that, unlike the antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus type 1, the selectivity of this drug is probably not based on a virus-specified pyrimidine kinase.
PMCID: PMC185363  PMID: 6316843

Results 1-25 (1007447)