To evaluate by sequential 18F-FDG PET/CT imaging the therapeutic response to a novel monoclonal antibody targeting human EMMPRIN (extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer) in combination with gemcitabine in a pancreatic-tumor xenograft murine model.
Four groups of SCID mice bearing orthotopic pancreatic tumor xenografts were injected with PBS, gemcitabine (120mg/kg BW), anti-EMMPRIN antibody (0.2mg), or combination, respectively twice weekly for 2 weeks, while 18F-FDG PET/CT imaging was performed weekly for 3 weeks. Changes in mean standardized uptake value (SUVmean) of 18F-FDG and volume of tumors were determined.
The tumor SUVmean change in the group receiving combination therapy was significantly lower than those of the other groups. Tumor-volume changes of groups treated with anti-EMMPRIN monotherapy or combined therapy were significantly lower than that of the control group.
These data provide support for clinical studies of anti-EMMPRIN therapy with gemcitabine for pancreatic cancer treatment.
FDG-PET; CT; EMMPRIN; Gemcitabine; Pancreatic cancer
To obtain estimates of human normal-organ radiation doses of 18F-SKI-249380, as a prerequisite step towards first-in-human trial. 18F-SKI-249380 is a first-of-its-kind PET tracer for imaging the in vivo pharmacokinetics of dasatinib, an investigational targeted therapy for solid malignancies.
Isoflurane-anesthetized mice received tracer dose via tail vein. Organ time-integrated activity coefficients, fractional urinary and hepatobiliary excretion, and total-body clearance kinetics were derived from PET data, with allometric extrapolation to the Standard Man anatomic model and normal-organ-absorbed dose calculations using OLINDA/EXM software.
The human effective dose was 0.031 mSv/MBq. The critical organ was the upper large intestine, with a dose equivalent of 0.25 mSv/MBq. A 190-MBq administered activity of 18F-SKI-249380 is thus predicted to expose an adult human to radiation doses generally comparable to those of routinely used diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals.
Animal-based human dose estimates support first-in-human testing of 18F-SKI-249380.
Positron emission tomography; Dasatinib (substance name); Protein-tyrosine kinases [Mesh]; Molecular imaging; SKI-249380
This study aims to determine feasibility and utility of copper-64(II) chloride (64CuCl2) as a tracer for positron emission tomography (PET) of copper metabolism imbalance in human Wilson’s disease (WD).
Atp7b−/− mice, a mouse model of human WD, were injected with 64CuCl2 intravenously and subjected to PET scanning using a hybrid PET-CT (computerized tomography) scanner, with the wild-type C57BL mice as a normal control. Quantitative PET analysis was performed to determine biodistribution of 64Cu radioactivity and radiation dosimetry estimates of 64Cu were calculated for PET of copper metabolism in humans.
Dynamic PET analysis revealed increased accumulation and markedly reduced clearance of 64Cu from the liver of the Atp7b−/− mice, compared to hepatic uptake and clearance of 64Cu in the wild-type C57BL mice. Kinetics of copper clearance and retention was also altered for kidneys, heart, and lungs in the Atp7b−/− mice. Based on biodistribution of 64Cu in wild-type C57BL mice, radiation dosimetry estimates of 64Cu in normal human subjects were obtained, showing an effective dose (ED) of 32.2 μ (micro)Sv/MBq (weighted dose over 22 organs) and the small intestine as the critical organ for radiation dose (61 μGy/MBq for males and 69 μGy/MBq for females). Radiation dosimetry estimates for the patients with WD, based on biodistribution of 64Cu in the Atp7b−/− mice, showed a similar ED of 32.8 μ (micro)Sv/MBq (p= 0.53), with the liver as the critical organ for radiation dose (120 μSv/MBq for male and 161 μSv/MBq for female).
Quantitative PET analysis demonstrates abnormal copper metabolism in the mouse model of WD with improved time–resolution. Human radiation dosimetry estimates obtained in this preclinical study encourage direct radiation dosimetry of 64CuCl2 in human subjects. The results suggest feasibility of utilizing 64CuCl2 as a tracer for noninvasive assessment of copper metabolism in WD with PET.
Copper metabolism; Wilson’s disease; ATP7B copper transporter; Positron emission tomography; Copper-64 (II) chloride; Radiation dosimetry
The purpose of writing this review is to showcase the Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database (MICAD; www.micad.nlm.nih.gov) to students, researchers and clinical investigators interested in the different aspects of molecular imaging. This database provides freely accessible, current, online scientific information regarding molecular imaging (MI) probes and contrast agents (CA) used for positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, x-ray/computed tomography, optical imaging and ultrasound imaging. Detailed information on >1000 agents in MICAD is provided in a chapter format and can be accessed through PubMed. Lists containing >4250 unique MI probes and CAs published in peer-reviewed journals and agents approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as a CSV file summarizing all chapters in the database can be downloaded from the MICAD homepage. Users can search for agents in MICAD on the basis of imaging modality, source of signal/contrast, agent or target category, preclinical or clinical studies, and text words. Chapters in MICAD describe the chemical characteristics (structures linked to PubChem), the in vitro and in vivo activities and other relevant information regarding an imaging agent. All references in the chapters have links to PubMed. A Supplemental Information Section in each chapter is available to share unpublished information regarding an agent. A Guest Author Program is available to facilitate rapid expansion of the database. Members of the imaging community registered with MICAD periodically receive an e-mail announcement (eAnnouncement) that lists new chapters uploaded to the database. Users of MICAD are encouraged to provide feedback, comments or suggestions for further improvement of the database by writing to the editors at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Molecular imaging probes; Contrast agents; Database; positron emission tomography (PET); single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT); magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); x-ray/computed tomography (x-ray/CT); optical imaging (OI); ultrasound imaging
In this study, protein-shell microspheres filled with a suspension of iron oxide nanoparticles in oil are demonstrated as multimodal contrast agents in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetomotive optical coherence tomography (MM-OCT), and ultrasound imaging. The development, characterization, and use of multifunctional multimodal microspheres are described for targeted contrast and therapeutic applications.
A preclinical rat model was used to demonstrate the feasibility of the multimodal multifunctional microspheres as contrast agents in ultrasound, MM-OCT and MRI. Microspheres were functionalized with the RGD peptide ligand, which is targeted to αvβ3 integrin receptors that are over-expressed in tumors and atherosclerotic lesions.
These microspheres, which contain iron oxide nanoparticles in their cores, can be modulated externally using a magnetic field to create dynamic contrast in MM-OCT. With the presence of iron oxide nanoparticles, these agents also show significant negative T2 contrast in MRI. Using ultrasound B-mode imaging at a frequency of 30 MHz, a marked enhancement of scatter intensity from in vivo rat mammary tumor tissue was observed for these targeted protein microspheres.
Preliminary results demonstrate multimodal contrast-enhanced imaging of these functionalized microsphere agents with MRI, MM-OCT, ultrasound imaging, and fluorescence microscopy, including in vivo tracking of the dynamics of these microspheres in real-time using a high-frequency ultrasound imaging system. These targeted oil-filled protein microspheres with the capacity for high drug-delivery loads offer the potential for local delivery of lipophilic drugs under image guidance.
Magnetomotive optical coherence tomography; Ultrasound imaging; Magnetic resonance imaging; Contrast agents; Protein microspheres; Iron oxide; RGD peptide; Alpha(v) beta(3) targeting
This study investigates methodologies for the estimation of small animal anatomy from non-tomographic modalities, such as planar X-ray projections, optical cameras, and surface scanners. The key goal is to register a digital mouse atlas to a combination of non-tomographic modalities, in order to provide organ-level anatomical references of small animals in 3D.
A 2D/3D registration method was developed to register the 3D atlas to the combination of non-tomographic imaging modalities. Eleven combinations of three non-tomographic imaging modalities were simulated, and the registration accuracy of each combination was evaluated.
Comparing the 11 combinations, the top-view X-ray projection combined with the side-view optical camera yielded the best overall registration accuracy of all organs. The use of a surface scanner improved the registration accuracy of skin, spleen, and kidneys.
The methodologies and evaluation presented in this study should provide helpful information for designing preclinical atlas-based anatomical data acquisition systems.
Small animal imaging; Mouse atlas registration; 2D/3D registration; Planar X-ray projection; 3D surface scanner
Cellular receptor targeted imaging agents present the potential to target extracellular molecular expression in cancerous lesions; however, the image contrast in vivo does not reflect the magnitude of overexpression expected from in vitro data. Here, the in vivo delivery and binding kinetics of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was determined for normal pancreas and AsPC-1 orthotopic pancreatic tumors known to overexpress EGFR.
EGFR in orthotopic xenograft AsPC-1 tumors was targeted with epidermal growth factor (EGF) conjugated with IRDye800CW. The transfer rate constants (ke,K12, k21, k23, and k32) associated with a three-compartment model describing the vascular delivery, leakage rate and binding of targeted agents were determined experimentally. The plasma excretion rate, ke, was determined from extracted blood plasma samples. K12, k21, and k32 were determined from ex vivo tissue washing studies at time points ≥24 h. The measured in vivo uptake of IRDye800CW-EGF and a non-targeted tracer dye, IRDye700DX-carboxylate, injected simultaneously was used to determined k23.
The vascular exchange of IRDye800CW-EGF in the orthotopic tumor (K12 and k21) was higher than in the AsPC-1 tumor as compared to normal pancreas, suggesting that more targeted agent can be taken up in tumor tissue. However, the cellular associated (binding) rate constant (k23) was slightly lower for AsPC-1 pancreatic tumor (4.1×10−4 s−1) than the normal pancreas (5.5×10−4s−1), implying that less binding is occurring.
Higher vascular delivery but low cellular association in the AsPC-1 tumor compared to the normal pancreas may be indicative of low receptor density due to low cellular content. This attribute of the AsPC-1 tumor may indicate one contributing cause of the difficulty in treating pancreatic tumors with cellular targeted agents.
Three-compartment model; Epidermal growth factor receptor; Pancreatic tumor; Fluorescence imaging; Cellular associated rate constant
Receptor availability represents a key component of current cancer management. However, no approaches have been adopted to do this clinically, and the current standard of care is invasive tissue biopsy. A dual-reporter methodology capable of quantifying available receptor binding potential of tumors in vivo within a clinically relevant time scale is presented.
To test the methodology, a fluorescence imaging-based adaptation was validated against ex vivo and in vitro measures of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) binding potential in four tumor lines in mice, each line expected to express a different level of EGFR.
A strong correlation was observed between in vivo and ex vivo measures of binding potential for all tumor lines (r=0.99, p<0.01, slope=1.80±0.48, and intercept=−0.58±0.84) and between in vivo and in vitro for the three lines expressing the least amount of EGFR (r=0.99, p<0.01, slope=0.64±0.32, and intercept=0.47±0.51).
By providing a fast and robust measure of receptor density in tumors, the presented methodology has powerful implications for improving choices in cancer intervention, evaluation, and monitoring, and can be scaled to the clinic with an imaging modality like SPECT.
Molecular imaging; Fluorescence; Targeted reporter; Epidermal growth factor receptor; Mouse model
We engineered a flexible fiber-optic microendoscope for longitudinal optical imaging studies in a mouse model of disseminated ovarian cancer.
The microendoscope delivers 470 nm excitation light from a light-emitting diode through a fiber-optic bundle with outer diameter of 680 μm. Optics were optimized to maximize power and lateral resolution. We used this instrument to repetitively monitor intraperitoneal growth of HeyA8 ovarian cancer cells stably transduced with green fluorescent protein (GFP) over 4 weeks.
The microendoscope achieves 0.7 mW power and lateral resolution of 4 μm. Initial in vivo imaging studies visualized single cells and small clusters of malignant cells with subsequent studies showing tumor masses and vasculature. We also resolved single cells within intraperitoneal tumor masses.
These studies establish microendoscope technology with single cell resolution for minimally-invasive, longitudinal imaging in living animals. This technology will advance future molecular imaging studies of ovarian cancer and other diseases.
Confocal; microscopy; fluorescence; in vivo; LED; fiber bundle; small animal imaging; ovarian cancer; xenograft; Zemax®
Increased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor expression has been found at the sites of angiogenesis, particularly in tumor growth areas, as compared with quiescent vasculature. An increase in VEGF receptor-2 is associated with colon cancer progression. The in vivo detection of VEGF receptor is of interest for the purposes of studying basic mechanisms of carcinogenesis, making clinical diagnoses, and monitoring the efficacy of chemopreventive and therapeutic agents. In this study, a novel single chain (sc)VEGF-based molecular probe is utilized in the azoxymethane (AOM)-treated mouse model of colorectal cancer to study delivery route and specificity for disease.
The probe was constructed by site-specific conjugation of a near-infrared fluorescent dye, Cy5.5, to scVEGF and detected in vivo with a dual-modality optical coherence tomography/laser-induced fluorescence (OCT/LIF) endoscopic system. A probe inactivated via excessive biotinylation was utilized as a control for nonreceptor-mediated binding. The LIF excitation source was a 633-nm He:Ne laser, and red/near-infrared fluorescence was detected with a spectrometer. OCT was used to obtain two-dimensional longitudinal tomograms at eight rotations in the distal colon. Fluorescence emission levels were correlated with OCT-detected disease in vivo. OCT-detected disease was verified with hematoxylin and eosin stained histology slides ex vivo.
High fluorescence emission intensity from the targeted probe was correlated with tumor presence as detected using OCT in vivo and VEGFR-2 immunostaining on histological sections ex vivo. The inactivated probe accumulated preferentially on the surface of tumor lesions and in lymphoid aggregate tissue and was less selective for VEGFR-2.
The scVEGF/Cy probe delivered via colonic lavage reaches tumor vasculature and selectively accumulates in VEGFR-2-positive areas, resulting in high sensitivity and specificity for tumor detection. The combination of OCT and LIF imaging modalities may allow the simultaneous study of tumor morphology and protein expression for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic methods for colorectal cancer.
Angiogenesis; Colon cancer; Laser-induced fluorescence; Molecular imaging; Optical coherence tomography; Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor
Inflammation plays a critical role in atherosclerosis and is associated with upregulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). We studied bioluminescence imaging (BLI) to track iNOS gene expression in a murine model of vascular inflammation.
Macrophage-rich vascular lesions were induced by carotid ligation plus high-fat diet and streptozotocin-induced diabetes in 18 iNOS-luc reporter mice. In vivo iNOS expression was imaged serially by BLI over 14 days, followed by in situ BLI and histology.
BLI signal from ligated carotids increased over 14 days (9.7±4.4×103 vs. 4.4±1.7×103 photons/s/cm2/sr at baseline, p<0.001 vs. baseline, p<0.05 vs. sham controls). Histology confirmed substantial macrophage infiltration, with iNOS and luciferase expression, only in ligated left carotid arteries and not controls.
BLI allows in vivo detection of iNOS expression in murine carotid lesions and may provide a valuable approach for monitoring vascular gene expression and inflammation in small animal models.
Vascular inflammation; Inducible nitric oxide synthase; Bioluminescence; Macrophages; Atherosclerosis
To develop and characterize the trafficking of a dual-modal agent that identifies primary draining or sentinel lymph node (LN).
Herein, a dual-reporting silica-coated iron oxide nanoparticle (SCION) is developed. Nude mice were imaged by magnetic resonance (MR) and optical imaging and axillary LNs were harvested for histological analysis. Trafficking through lymphatics was observed with intravital and ex vivo confocal microscopy of popliteal LNs in B6-albino, CD11c-EYFP, and lys-EGFP transgenic mice.
In vivo, SCION allows visualization of LNs. The particle’s size and surface functionality play a role in its passive migration from the intradermal injection site and its minimal uptake by CD11c+ dendritic cells and CD169+ and lys+ macrophages.
After injection, SCION passively migrates to LNs without macrophage uptake and then can be used to image LN(s) by MRI and fluorescence. Thus, SCION can potentially be developed for use in sentinel node resections or for intralymphatic drug delivery.
nanoparticle; molecular imaging; MRI; optical imaging; lymph node; superparamagnetic iron oxide
Given that carotid vasa vasorum neovascularization is associated with increased risk for stroke and cardiac events, the present in vivo study was designed to investigate molecular imaging of carotid artery vasa vasorum neovascularization via target-specific contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEU) micro-imaging.
Molecular imaging was performed in male transgenic rats with carotid artery disease and non-transgenic controls using dual endothelin1/VEGFsp receptor (DEspR)-targeted microbubbles (MBD) and the Vevo770 micro-imaging system and CEU imaging software.
DEspR-targeted CEU-positive imaging exhibited significantly higher contrast intensity signal (CIS)-levels and pre-/post-destruction CIS-differences in seven of 13 transgenic rats, in contrast to significantly lower CIS-levels and differences in control isotype-targeted microbubble (MBC)-CEU imaging (n =8) and in MBD CEU-imaging of five non-transgenic control rats (P<0.0001). Ex vivo immunofluorescence analysis demonstrated binding of MBD to DEspR-positive endothelial cells; and association of DEspR-targeted increased contrast intensity signals with DEspR expression in vasa vasorum neovessel and intimal lesions. In vitro analysis demonstrated dose-dependent binding of MBD to DEspR-positive human endothelial cells with increasing %cells bound and number of MBD per cell, in contrast to MBC or non-labeled microbubbles (P<0.0001).
In vivo DEspR-targeted molecular imaging detected increased DEspR-expression in carotid artery lesions and in expanded vasa vasorum neovessels in transgenic rats with carotid artery disease. Future studies are needed to determine predictive value for stroke or heart disease in this transgenic atherosclerosis rat model and translational applications.
Molecular imaging; DEspR; Dual endothelin1/VEGFsp receptor; Vasa vasorum neovascularization; Carotid artery atherosclerosis model; Pathological angiogenesis
The dimeric transmembrane integrin, αvβ3, is a well-investigated target by different imaging modalities through suitably labeled arginine–glycine–aspartic acid (RGD) containing peptides. In this study, we labeled four cyclic RGD peptides with or without PEG functional groups: c(RGDfK) (denoted as FK), PEG3-c(RGDfK) (denoted as FK-PEG3), E[c(RGDfK)]2 (denoted as [FK]2), and PEG4-E[PEG4-c(RGDfK)]2 (denoted as [FK]2-3PEG4), with 89Zr (t1/2=78.4 h), using the chelator desferrioxamine-p-SCN (Df) for imaging tumor integrin αvβ3.
The Df conjugated RGD peptides were subjected to integrin αvβ3 binding assay in vitro using MDA-MB-435 breast cancer cells. The 89Zr-labeled RGD peptides were then subjected to small animal positron emission tomography (PET) and direct tissue sampling biodistribution studies in an orthotopic MDA-MB-435 breast cancer xenograft model.
All four tracers, 89Zr-Df-FK, 89Zr-Df-FK-PEG3, 89Zr-Df-[FK]2, and 89Zr-Df-[FK]2-3PEG4, were labeled in high radiochemical yield (89±4%) and high specific activity (4.07–6 MBq/µg). Competitive binding assay with 125I-echistatin showed that conjugation of the RGD peptides to the Df chelator did not have significant impact on their integrin αvβ3 binding affinity and the dimeric peptides were shown to be more potent than the monomers. In agreement with binding results, tumor uptake of 89Zr-Df-[FK]2 and 89Zr-Df-[FK]2-3PEG4 was significantly higher (4.32±1.73%ID/g and 4.72±0.66%ID/g, respectively, at 2 h post-injection) than the monomers 89Zr-Df-FK and 89Zr-Df-FK-PEG3 (1.97±0.38%ID/g and 1.57±0.49%ID/g, respectively, at 2 h post-injection). Out of the four labeled peptides, 89Zr-Df-[FK]2-3PEG4 gave the highest tumor-to-background ratio (18.21±2.52 at 2 h post-injection and 19.69±3.99 at 4 h post-injection), with the lowest uptake in metabolic organs. Analysis of late time points biodistribution data revealed that the uptake in the tumor was decreased, along with increase in the bone, which implies decomplexation of 89Zr-Df.
Efficient radiolabeling of peptides with an appropriate chelator such as Df-RGD with 89Zr was observed. The 89Zr radiolabeled peptides provided high-quality and high-resolution microPET images in xenograft models. 89Zr-Df-[FK]2-3PEG4 demonstrated the highest tumor-to-background ratio of the compounds tested. Preparation of 89Zr peptides to take advantage of the longer half-life is unwarranted due to the relatively rapid clearance from the tumor region of peptide tracers prepared for this study and the increased uptake in the bone of transchelated 89Zr with time (2.0±0.36%ID/g, 24 h post-injection).
89Zr—zirconium; RGD peptides; Integrin αvβ3; PET
Anti-1-amino-2-[18F]fluorocyclopentane-1-carboxylic acid (anti-2-[18F]FACPC) is an unnatural alicyclic amino acid radiotracer with high uptake in the DU-145 prostate cancer cell line in vitro. Our goal was to determine if anti-2-[18F]FACPC is useful in the detection of prostate carcinoma.
Five patients with elevated PSA (1.1–20.5 ng/mL) after curative therapy for prostate carcinoma underwent 60 min dynamic positron emission tomography (PET) of the pelvis after IV injection of 193–340 MBq of anti-2-[18F]FACPC. Uptake was compared against PET scans in the same patients with the leucine analog, anti-1-amino-3-[18F]fluorocyclobutane-1-carboxylic acid (anti-[18F]FACBC), at similar time points and validated via pathology, clinical, and imaging follow-up.
At 5 min, average (±SD) SUVmax of malignant lesions is 4.1(±1.3) for anti-2-[18F] FACPC and 4.3(±1.1) for anti-[18F]FACBC. Yet, blood pool activity at 5 min is significantly higher for anti-2-[18F]FACPC with average (±SD) lesion/blood pool SUVmax/SUVmean ratio of 1.4 (±0.5) vs. 3.0 (±0.9) for anti-[18F]FACBC. At 20 min, average (±SD) SUVmax of malignant lesions is 2.6 (±1.0) for anti-2-[18F]FACPC and 3.4 (±0.8) for anti-[18F]FACBC. Yet, bladder activity at 20 min is significantly more intense for anti-2-[18F] FACPC with average (±SD) lesion/bladder SUVmax/SUVmean ratio of 0.3 (±0.8) vs. 2.3 (±1.4) for anti-[18F]FACBC.
While prostate bed lesions are visible on early imaging with anti-2-[18F]FACPC, there is high blood pool activity obscuring nodes. As blood pool fades, nodal uptake decreases and high bladder activity then obscures pelvic structures. Compared with anti-[18F]FACBC, imaging characteristics for anti-2-[18F]FACPC are unfavorable for pelvic recurrent prostate carcinoma detection.
FACPC; FACBC; Prostate; PET
Several established optical imaging approaches have been applied, usually in isolation, to preclinical studies; however, truly useful in vivo imaging may require a simultaneous combination of imaging modalities to examine dynamic characteristics of cells and tissues. We developed a new multimode optical imaging system designed to be application-versatile, yielding high sensitivity, and specificity molecular imaging.
We integrated several optical imaging technologies, including fluorescence intensity, spectral, lifetime, intravital confocal, two-photon excitation, and bioluminescence, into a single system that enables functional multiscale imaging in animal models.
The approach offers a comprehensive imaging platform for kinetic, quantitative, and environmental analysis of highly relevant information, with micro-to-macroscopic resolution. Applied to small animals in vivo, this provides superior monitoring of processes of interest, represented here by chemo-/nanoconstruct therapy assessment.
This new system is versatile and can be optimized for various applications, of which cancer detection and targeted treatment are emphasized here.
Multimode; Preclinical; In vivo; Spectral analysis; Fluorescence lifetime; Wide-field two-photon excitation; Chemotherapy; Nanoconstruct; Corroles
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate a novel protein-based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent that has the capability of targeting prostate cancer and which provides high-sensitivity MR imaging in tumor cells and mouse models.
A fragment of gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) was fused into a protein-based MRI contrast agent (ProCA1) at different regions. MR imaging was obtained in both tumor cells (PC3 and H441) and a tumor mouse model administrated with ProCA1.GRP.
PC3 and DU145 cells treated with ProCA1.GRPs exhibited enhanced signal in MRI. Intratumoral injection of ProCA1.GRP in a PC3 tumor model displayed enhanced MRI signal. The contrast agent was retained in the PC3 tumor up to 48 h post-injection.
Protein-based MRI contrast agent with tumor targeting modality can specifically target GRPR-positive prostate cancer. Intratumoral injection of the ProCA1 agent in the prostate cancer mouse model verified the targeting capability of ProCA1.GRP and showed a prolonged retention time in tumors.
MRI; Contrast agents; Prostate cancer; Molecular imaging; Relaxivity
The use of MRI to monitor immune cell infiltration into various pathologies is well established. In an effort to boost the magnetic material within immune cells, this work attempted to label resting monocytes within bone marrow, in mice, by intravenous administration of micron-sized iron oxide particles (MPIOs), similar in fashion to the administration of (U)SPIO.
MPIOs were incubated with various immune cells both in culture, and in whole blood. Flow cytometry and histology were used to analyze magnetic cell labeling. Also, MPIOs were injected intravenously into mice. In vivo, high-resolution 3-D MRI was performed on mouse legs, and signal changes were quantified. Flow cytometry and histology were used to analyze magnetic cell labeling of bone marrow resident cells.
It is demonstrated here that monocytes and neutrophils can indeed endocytose MPIOs both in cell culture and ex vivo in whole blood. However, despite rapid accumulation of MPIOs within the bone marrow following injection, MPIOs did not label monocytes or any other hematopoietic cell type in the marrow. Hypotheses are drawn to explain these results in light of recent usage of MPIOs for immune cell tracking.
Systemic administration of various MPIO formulations showed that MPIOs arrive in bone marrow rapidly following injection and remain there for at least 7 days. Data also shows slow clearance of some particles from the tissue over this period. While MPIOs can efficiently label monocytes in culture and in whole blood ex vivo, they were not found to label bone marrow resident monocytes.
MRI; Iron oxide; Monocytes; Bone marrow
In this study, we investigated the labeling efficiency and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal sensitivity of a newly synthesized, nano-sized iron oxide particle (IOP) coated with polyethylene glycol (PEG), designed by Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).
Macrophages, bone-marrow-derived dendritic cells, and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were isolated from rats and labeled by incubating with ITRI-IOP, along with three other iron oxide particles in different sizes and coatings as reference. These labeled cells were characterized with transmission electron microscopy (TEM), light and fluorescence microscopy, phantom MRI, and finally in vivo MRI and ex vivo magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM) of transplanted hearts in rats infused with labeled macrophages.
The longitudinal (r1) and transverse (r2) relaxivities of ITRI-IOP are 22.71 and 319.2 s−1 mM−1, respectively. TEM and microscopic images indicate the uptake of multiple ITRI-IOP particles per cell for all cell types. ITRI-IOP provides sensitivity comparable or higher than the other three particles shown in phantom MRI. In vivo MRI and ex vivo MRM detect punctate spots of hypointensity in rejecting hearts, most likely caused by the accumulation of macrophages labeled by ITRI-IOP.
ITRI-IOP, the nano-sized iron oxide particle, shows high efficiency in cell labeling, including both phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells. Furthermore, it provides excellent sensitivity in T2*-weighted MRI, and thus can serve as a promising contrast agent for in vivo cellular MRI.
Iron oxide particles; ITRI-IOP; Cells; In vitro labeling; Cellular MRI; Rat heart transplant model
Clinical translation of novel optical probes requires testing of human specimens ex vivo to ensure efficacy. However, it may be difficult to remove human tissue from the operating room due to regulatory/privacy issues. Therefore, we designed a portable fluorescence camera to test targeted optical imaging probes on human specimens in the operating room.
A compact benchtop fluorescence camera was designed and built in-house. A mouse xenograft model of ovarian cancer with an activatable imaging probe based on rhodamine green was used to test the device. Comparison was made to commercially available imaging systems.
The prototype camera produced images comparable to images acquired with commercially available, non-portable imaging systems.
We demonstrate the feasibility of a specimen-based portable fluorescence camera for use in the operating room. Its small size ensures that tissue excised from patients can be tested promptly for fluorescence within the operating room environment, thus expediting the testing of novel imaging probes.
Fluorescence imaging; Surgery assistance; Portable camera; Surgical specimen
The goals of this study were to create cryo-imaging methods to quantify characteristics (size, dispersal, and blood vessel density) of mouse orthotopic models of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and to enable studies of tumor biology, targeted imaging agents, and theranostic nanoparticles.
Green fluorescent protein-labeled, human glioma LN-229 cells were implanted into mouse brain. At 20–38 days, cryo-imaging gave whole brain, 4-GB, 3D microscopic images of bright field anatomy, including vasculature, and fluorescent tumor. Image analysis/visualization methods were developed.
Vessel visualization and segmentation methods successfully enabled analyses. The main tumor mass volume, the number of dispersed clusters, the number of cells/cluster, and the percent dispersed volume all increase with age of the tumor. Histograms of dispersal distance give a mean and median of 63 and 56 μm, respectively, averaged over all brains. Dispersal distance tends to increase with age of the tumors. Dispersal tends to occur along blood vessels. Blood vessel density did not appear to increase in and around the tumor with this cell line.
Cryo-imaging and software allow, for the first time, 3D, whole brain, microscopic characterization of a tumor from a particular cell line. LN-229 exhibits considerable dispersal along blood vessels, a characteristic of human tumors that limits treatment success.
Glioblastoma multiforme; GBM; Migration; Dispersal; Invasion; Blood vessel detection; 3D region growing; Cryo-imaging; LN-229
To synthesize and characterize near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging probes targeted to gelatinases.
A phage display-selected cyclic peptide containing the His-Try-Gly-Phe (HWGF) motif was used as the lead compound. Structure-activity relationship analysis was used to identify stable and potent gelatinase inhibitors suitable for NIR imaging applications.
Replacing the S-S bond in cyclic peptide c(CTTHWGFTLC)NH2 (C1) with an amide bond between the ε-amino group of Lys and the side chain of Asp resulted in a significant increase in stability and a 4-fold increase in gelatinase inhibition of the resulting peptide, c(KAHWGFTLD)NH2 (C6). Conjugation of Cy5.5 to C6 led to Cy5.5-C6, which was selectively taken up by MMP-2 expressing human glioma U87 cells. In vivo, selective accumulation of Cy5.5-C6, but not Cy5.5-C1 or a Cy5.5-scrambled peptide conjugate, was visualized in intratibial prostate PC-3 tumors 48 hr after their intravenous injection. Moreover, Cy5.5-C6 was readily visualized in orthotopically inoculated U87 brain tumors.
Cy5.5-C6 may be a useful agent for molecular imaging of gelatinases. The approach of producing stable cyclic peptides through side chain amide linkage should be applicable to other peptide-based imaging agents.
Near-infrared fluorescent imaging; gelatinases; Optical imaging; Cyclic peptides
Abnormal fatty acid (FA) synthesis is one of the common features of cancer. Fatty acid synthase (FASN), a multifunctional enzyme playing a key role in biosynthesis of FA, is up-regulated in prostate, breast, and lung carcinomas. Orlistat is a FDA-approved anti-obesity drug that inhibits the thioesterase domain of FASN, interferes with cellular FA synthesis, can arrest tumor cell proliferation, and induces tumor cell apoptosis. The current study was aimed to investigate the metabolic changes associated with FASN inhibition by orlistat and to understand the molecular mechanisms behind the observed metabolic changes in non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) cell lines.
Changes in metabolite pools in four NSCLC cell lines (H441, H1975, H3255, and PC14) with different mutational profiles were studied using NMR spectroscopy before and after in vitro incubation with sub-toxic concentration of orlistat and [1-13C]d-glucose or [1,2-13C2]choline. In vitro radiotracer accumulation assays in cells were performed with [3H]acetate, [14C]fluoroacetate, and 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-d-glucose. In parallel, microarray profiling of genes involved in the regulation of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism was performed.
In orlistat-treated NSCLC cells, FASN inhibition results in characteristic changes in intermediary metabolites (FAs, choline, phospholipids, and TCA cycle metabolites) as observed by magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Further, FASN inhibition by orlistat induces multiple adaptive changes in FA synthetic pathway and associated metabolic pathways, including induction of ketone metabolism and glutaminolysis, as well as the up-regulation of 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase.
These observed changes in metabolic pools in orlistat-treated cells demonstrate the critical role of fatty acid de novo synthesis and metabolism for cellular energy production, especially in tumor cells with low glycolytic activity, which goes beyond the widely accepted concept that FA synthesis is important for cell membrane biosynthesis in rapidly proliferating tumor cells.
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The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11307-012-0587-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
FASN; Orlistat; Biomarkers; MRS; Metabolic changes
The understanding of the role of genetic alterations in Wilms tumor development could be greatly advanced using a genetically engineered mouse models that can replicate the development and progression of this disease in human patients and can be monitored using non-invasive structural and molecular imaging optimized for renal tumors.
Repetitive dual-contrast computed tomography (CT; intravenous and intraperitoneal contrast), T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and delayed 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-d-glucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) were utilized for characterization of Igf2 biallelic expression/Wt1 knockout mouse model of Wilms tumor. For CT imaging, Ioversol 678 mg/ml in 200 μl was administered i.p. followed by 100 μl injected intravenously at 20 and 15 min prior to imaging, respectively. Static PET imaging studies were acquired at 1, 2, and 3 h after i.v. administration of 18F-FDG (400 μCi). Coronal and sagittal T1-weighted images (TE/TR 8.5/620 ms) were acquired before and immediately after i.v. injection of 0.4 ml/kg gadopentetate dimeglumine followed by T2-weighted images (TE/TR 60/300 ms). Tumor tissue samples were characterized by histopathology and immunohistochemistry for Glut1, FASN, Ki67, and CD34. In addition, six Wt1-Igf2 mice were treated with a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MEK) inhibitor U0126 (50 μmol/kg i.p.) every 4 days for 6 weeks. 18F-FDG PET/CT imaging was repeated at different days after initiation of therapy with U0126. The percent change of initial tumor volume and SUV was compared to non-treated historic control animals.
Overall, the best tumor-to-adjacent kidney contrast as well as soft tissue contrast for other abdominal organs was achieved using T2-weighted MRI. Delayed 18F-FDG PET (3-h post 18F-FDG administration) and dual-contrast CT (intravenous and intraperitoneal contrast) provided a more accurate anatomic and metabolic characterization of Wilms tumors in Wt1-Igf2 mice during early development and progression of renal tumors. Over the 8-month period, 46 Wt1-Igf2 mice and 8 littermate control mice were studied. Renal tumors were identified in 54.3 % of Wt1-Igf2 mice between post-natal 50–100 days. In 35.6 % of Wt1-Igf2 mice, tumors were localized in the right kidney; in 24 %, in the left kidney, while 40.4 % of Wt1-Igf2 mice had bilateral kidney tumors. Metastatic lesions were identified in 15.4 % of Wt1-Igf2 mice. Increased levels of Glut1 and IGF1R expression, high Ki67 labeling index, and a dense network of CD34+ microvessels in renal tumors was consistent with increased 18F-FDG accumulation. Treatment with a MEK 1/2 inhibitor U0126 did not cause the inhibition of tumor growth as compared to untreated animals. However, after the first three to four doses (~2 weeks of treatment), a decrease in 18F-FDG SUV was observed, as compared to pre-treatment levels (p < 0.05, paired Student t test), which constitutes a metabolic response. Six weeks later, despite continuing therapy, the 18F-FDG SUV increased again to previous levels.
The optimized dual contrast PET/CT imaging with early post i.v. and i.p. contrast CT and 3 h delayed PET imaging after 18F-FDG administration provides a sensitive and reliable method for detecting early tumor lesions in this endogenous mouse model of Wilms tumor and for monitoring their growth in response to targeted therapies. Therapy with MEK inhibitor U0126 produces only a transient inhibition of tumor glycolytic activity but does not inhibit tumor growth, which is due to continuing IGF2-induced signaling from IGF1R through the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway.
Transgenic mice; Wilms tumor; 18F-FDG; PET/CT; CT; MRI