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author:("raji, Hideo")
1.  Highly Selective Tau-SPECT Imaging Probes for Detection of Neurofibrillary Tangles in Alzheimer’s Disease 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:34197.
Neurofibrillary tangles composed of aggregates of hyperphosphorylated tau proteins are one of the neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in addition to the deposition of β-amyloid plaques. Since the deposition of tau aggregates is closely associated with the severity of AD, the in vivo detection of tau aggregates may be useful as a biomarker for the diagnosis and progression of AD. In this study, we designed and synthesized a new series of radioiodinated benzoimidazopyridine (BIP) derivatives, and evaluated their utility as single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging agents targeting tau aggregates in AD brains. Five radioiodinated BIP derivatives were successfully prepared in high radiochemical yields and purities. In in vitro autoradiographic studies using postmortem AD brains, all BIP derivatives displayed high accumulation of radioactivity in the brain sections with abundant neurofibrillary tangles, while no marked radioactivity accumulation was observed in the brain sections with only β-amyloid aggregates, indicating that the BIP derivatives exhibited selective binding to tau aggregates. Biodistribution studies in normal mice showed high brain uptake at 2 min postinjection (3.5–4.7% ID/g) and rapid clearance at 60 min postinjection (0.04–0.23% ID/g), which is highly desirable for tau imaging agents. The results of the present study suggest that [123I]BIP derivatives may be useful SPECT agents for the in vivo imaging of tau aggregates in AD.
PMCID: PMC5043239  PMID: 27687137
2.  Novel Bivalent 99mTc-Complex with N-Methyl-Substituted Hydroxamamide as Probe for Imaging of Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0163969.
Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is characterized by the deposition of amyloid aggregates in the walls of the cerebral vasculature. Recently, the development of molecular imaging probes targeting CAA has been attracting much attention. We previously reported the 99mTc-hydroxamamide (99mTc-Ham) complex with a bivalent benzothiazole scaffold as a binding moiety for amyloid aggregates ([99mTc]BT2) and its utility for CAA-specific imaging. However, the simultaneous generation of two radiolabeled complexes derived from the geometric isomers was observed in the 99mTc-labeling reaction. It was recently reported that the complexation reaction of 99Tc with N-methyl-substituted Ham provided a single 99Tc-Ham complex consisting of two N-methylated Ham ligands with marked stability. In this article, we designed and synthesized a novel N-methylated bivalent 99mTc-Ham complex ([99mTc]MBT2) and evaluated its utility for CAA-specific imaging. N-Methyl substitution of [99mTc]BT2 prevented the generation of its isomer in the 99mTc-labeling reaction. Enhanced in vitro stability of [99mTc]MBT2 as compared with [99mTc]BT2 was observed. [99mTc]MBT2 showed very low brain uptake, which is favorable for CAA-specific imaging. An in vitro inhibition assay using β-amyloid aggregates and in vitro autoradiographic examination of brain sections from a Tg2576 mouse and a CAA patient showed a decline in the binding affinity for amyloid aggregates due to N-methylation of the 99mTc-Ham complex. These results suggest that the scaffold of the 99mTc-Ham complex may play important roles in the in vitro stability and the binding affinity for amyloid aggregates.
PMCID: PMC5045186  PMID: 27689870
3.  Polyoxazoline multivalently conjugated with indocyanine green for sensitive in vivo photoacoustic imaging of tumors 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:33798.
Photoacoustic imaging, which enables high-resolution imaging in deep tissues, has lately attracted considerable attention. For tumor imaging, photoacoustic probes have been proposed to enhance the photoacoustic effect to improve detection sensitivity. Here, we evaluated the feasibility of using a biocompatible hydrophilic polymer, polyoxazoline, conjugated with indocyanine green (ICG) as a tumor-targeted photoacoustic probe via enhanced permeability and retention effect. ICG molecules were multivalently conjugated to partially hydrolyzed polyoxazoline, thereby serving as highly sensitive photoacoustic probes. Interestingly, loading multiple ICG molecules to polyoxazoline significantly enhanced photoacoustic signal intensity under the same ICG concentration. In vivo biodistribution studies using tumor bearing mice demonstrated that 5% hydrolyzed polyoxazoline (50 kDa) conjugated with ICG (ICG/polyoxazoline = 7.8), P14-ICG7.8, showed relatively high tumor accumulation (9.4%ID/g), resulting in delivery of the highest dose of ICG among the probes tested. P14-ICG7.8 enabled clear visualization of the tumor regions by photoacoustic imaging 24 h after administration; the photoacoustic signal increased in proportion with the injected dose. In addition, the signal intensity in blood vessels in the photoacoustic images did not show much change, which was attributed to the high tumor-to-blood ratios of P14-ICG7.8. These results suggest that polyoxazoline-ICG would serve as a robust probe for sensitive photoacoustic tumor imaging.
PMCID: PMC5036052  PMID: 27667374
4.  Continuous-Flow Synthesis of N-Succinimidyl 4-[18F]fluorobenzoate Using a Single Microfluidic Chip 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(7):e0159303.
In the field of positron emission tomography (PET) radiochemistry, compact microreactors provide reliable and reproducible synthesis methods that reduce the use of expensive precursors for radiolabeling and make effective use of the limited space in a hot cell. To develop more compact microreactors for radiosynthesis of 18F-labeled compounds required for the multistep procedure, we attempted radiosynthesis of N-succinimidyl 4-[18F]fluorobenzoate ([18F]SFB) via a three-step procedure using a microreactor. We examined individual steps for [18F]SFB using a batch reactor and microreactor and developed a new continuous-flow synthetic method with a single microfluidic chip to achieve rapid and efficient radiosynthesis of [18F]SFB. In the synthesis of [18F]SFB using this continuous-flow method, the three-step reaction was successfully completed within 6.5 min and the radiochemical yield was 64 ± 2% (n = 5). In addition, it was shown that the quality of [18F]SFB synthesized on this method was equal to that synthesized by conventional methods using a batch reactor in the radiolabeling of bovine serum albumin with [18F]SFB.
PMCID: PMC4943714  PMID: 27410684
5.  Imaging of Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy with Bivalent 99mTc-Hydroxamamide Complexes 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:25990.
Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), characterized by the deposition of amyloid aggregates in the walls of cerebral vasculature, is a major factor in intracerebral hemorrhage and vascular cognitive impairment and is also associated closely with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We previously reported 99mTc-hydroxamamide (99mTc-Ham) complexes with a bivalent amyloid ligand showing high binding affinity for β-amyloid peptide (Aβ(1–42)) aggregates present frequently in the form in AD. In this article, we applied them to CAA-specific imaging probes, and evaluated their utility for CAA-specific imaging. In vitro inhibition assay using Aβ(1–40) aggregates deposited mainly in CAA and a brain uptake study were performed for 99mTc-Ham complexes, and all 99mTc-Ham complexes with an amyloid ligand showed binding affinity for Aβ(1–40) aggregates and very low brain uptake. In vitro autoradiography of human CAA brain sections and ex vivo autoradiography of Tg2576 mice were carried out for bivalent 99mTc-Ham complexes ([99mTc]SB2A and [99mTc]BT2B), and they displayed excellent labeling of Aβ depositions in human CAA brain sections and high affinity and selectivity to CAA in transgenic mice. These results may offer new possibilities for the development of clinically useful CAA-specific imaging probes based on the 99mTc-Ham complex.
PMCID: PMC4867616  PMID: 27181612
6.  Report on the use of non‐clinical studies in the regulatory evaluation of oncology drugs 
Cancer Science  2016;107(2):189-202.
Non‐clinical studies are necessary at each stage of the development of oncology drugs. Many experimental cancer models have been developed to investigate carcinogenesis, cancer progression, metastasis, and other aspects in cancer biology and these models turned out to be useful in the efficacy evaluation and the safety prediction of oncology drugs. While the diversity and the degree of engagement in genetic changes in the initiation of cancer cell growth and progression are widely accepted, it has become increasingly clear that the roles of host cells, tissue microenvironment, and the immune system also play important roles in cancer. Therefore, the methods used to develop oncology drugs should continuously be revised based on the advances in our understanding of cancer. In this review, we extensively summarize the effective use of those models, their advantages and disadvantages, ranges to be evaluated and limitations of the models currently used for the development and for the evaluation of oncology drugs.
This review summarizes the effective use of animal models, their advantages and disadvantages, ranges to be evaluated and limitations of the models currently used for the development and for the evaluation of oncology drugs.
PMCID: PMC4768389  PMID: 26919617
Animal model; cancer; drug development; oncology drug; regulatory science
7.  Additional information gained by positron emission tomography with 68Ga-DOTATOC for suspected unknown primary or recurrent neuroendocrine tumors 
Annals of Nuclear Medicine  2015;29(6):512-518.
Positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) using 68Ga-labeled 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N′,N″,N‴-tetraacetic acid-d-Phe1-Tyr3-octreotide (DOTATOC) has been used to detect neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinical efficacy of DOTATOC-PET/CT for detecting clinically suspected NETs when conventional imaging modalities were negative or inconclusive, in terms of additional value.
A total of 46 patients were analyzed retrospectively. Among them, 14 patients underwent a DOTATOC-PET/CT scan for detecting unknown primary tumors after histopathological confirmation of a NET at metastatic sites (group A): 7 patients for detecting metastasis or recurrence after surgery for NET because of their high hormone levels but with no recurrence detected by other imaging modalities (group B); the remaining 25 patients for detecting suspected NETs because their hormone levels were high with no history of histopathologically proven NET (group C). Additional information was assessed, according to each situation.
In group A, unknown primary tumors were suspected by DOTATOC-PET/CT in 8 of 14 patients (gastrointestinal/pancreatic NET in 7 patients, prostatic cancer in 1 patient), but prostatic cancer was not confirmed by histopathology (i.e., false positive). In group B, DOTATOC-PET/CT depicted lesions in six of seven patients, including nodal metastasis (n = 5) and liver metastasis (n = 1). In group C, DOTATOC-PET/CT did not demonstrate any abnormal foci except in one case of pancreatic NET. Additional information was obtained in 50, 86, and 4 % of cases, in groups A, B, and C, respectively.
DOTATOC-PET/CT was useful for detecting NETs, especially when recurrence or metastases were suspected because of high hormone levels after surgery for a NET. It is unlikely, however, that additional information can be acquired in patients with no history of NET simply based on high hormone levels.
PMCID: PMC4661205  PMID: 25894056
PET/CT; DOTATOC; Somatostatin; Neuroendocrine tumor
8.  Novel PET/SPECT Probes for Imaging of Tau in Alzheimer's Disease 
The Scientific World Journal  2015;2015:124192.
As the world's population ages, the number of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) is predicted to increase rapidly. The presence of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), composed of hyperphosphorylated tau protein, is one of the neuropathological hallmarks of AD brain. Since the presence of NFTs is well correlated with neurodegeneration and cognitive decline in AD, imaging of tau using positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is useful for presymptomatic diagnosis and monitoring of the progression of AD. Therefore, novel PET/SPECT probes for the imaging of tau have been developed. More recently, several probes were tested clinically and evaluated for their utility. This paper reviews the current state of research on the development and evaluation of PET/SPECT probes for the imaging of tau in AD brain.
PMCID: PMC4386695  PMID: 25879047
9.  Feasibility of Amylin Imaging in Pancreatic Islets with β-Amyloid Imaging Probes 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6155.
Islet amyloid deposition composed of amylin aggregates is regarded as one of the hallmarks of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). For the diagnosis of T2DM, several nuclear medical imaging probes have been developed. However, there have been no reports regarding the development of imaging probes targeting amylin. In this report, we investigated the feasibility of amylin imaging using [125I]IPBF as one of the model compounds of β-amyloid (Aβ) imaging probes. In in vitro experiments, [125I]IPBF exhibited high binding affinity for amylin aggregates (Kd = 8.31 nM). Moreover, autoradiographic images showed that [125I]IPBF specifically bound to islet amyloid composed of amylin. These results suggest the potential application of Aβ imaging probes to amylin imaging. In addition, [125I]IPBF is one of the promising lead compounds for amylin imaging, and further structural optimization based on [125I]IPBF may lead to useful tracers for the in vivo imaging of islet amyloids in the pancreas.
PMCID: PMC4139942  PMID: 25142178
10.  Radiolabeled Probes Targeting Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1-Active Tumor Microenvironments 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:165461.
Because tumor cells grow rapidly and randomly, hypoxic regions arise from the lack of oxygen supply in solid tumors. Hypoxic regions in tumors are known to be resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) expressed in hypoxic regions regulates the expression of genes related to tumor growth, angiogenesis, metastasis, and therapy resistance. Thus, imaging of HIF-1-active regions in tumors is of great interest. HIF-1 activity is regulated by the expression and degradation of its α subunit (HIF-1α), which is degraded in the proteasome under normoxic conditions, but escapes degradation under hypoxic conditions, allowing it to activate transcription of HIF-1-target genes. Therefore, to image HIF-1-active regions, HIF-1-dependent reporter systems and injectable probes that are degraded in a manner similar to HIF-1α have been recently developed and used in preclinical studies. However, no probe currently used in clinical practice directly assesses HIF-1 activity. Whether the accumulation of 18F-FDG or 18F-FMISO can be utilized as an index of HIF-1 activity has been investigated in clinical studies. In this review, the current status of HIF-1 imaging in preclinical and clinical studies is discussed.
PMCID: PMC4151590  PMID: 25215311
11.  Investigation of cyanine dyes for in vivo optical imaging of altered mitochondrial membrane potential in tumors 
Cancer Medicine  2014;3(4):775-786.
Mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) alteration is an important target for cancer diagnosis. In this study, we designed a series of near-infrared fluorescent cationic cyanine dyes with varying alkyl chain lengths (IC7-1 derivatives) to provide diverse lipophilicities and serum albumin-binding rates, and we evaluated the usefulness of these derivatives for in vivo Δψm imaging. IC7-1 derivatives with side chains from methyl to hexyl (IC7-1-Me to IC7-1-He) were synthesized, and their optical properties were measured. Cellular uptake and intracellular distribution were investigated with depolarized HeLa cells from carbonyl cyanine m-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP) treatment using a spectrofluorometer and a fluorescence microscope. Serum albumin-binding rates were evaluated using albumin-binding inhibitors. In vivo optical imaging was performed with HeLa cell xenograft mice following intravenous administration of IC7-1 derivatives with or without warfarin and CCCP as in vivo blocking agents. IC7-1 derivatives showing maximum excitation and emission wavelengths at 823 nm and ∼845 nm, respectively, were synthesized. IC7-1-Me to -Bu showed fluorescence in mitochondria that decreased with CCCP treatment in a concentration-dependent manner, which showed that IC7-1-Me to -Bu successfully indicated Δψm. Tumors were clearly visualized after IC7-1-Bu administration. Treatment with warfarin or CCCP significantly decreased IC7-1-Bu fluorescence in the tumor region. In summary, IC7-1-Bu exhibited fluorescence localized to mitochondria dependent on Δψm, which enabled clear in vivo tumor imaging via serum albumin as a drug carrier for effective tumor targeting. Our data suggest that IC7-1-Bu is a promising NIR probe for in vivo imaging of the altered Δψm of tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC4303146  PMID: 24737784
Albumin binding; cancer diagnosis; mitochondrial membrane potential; near infrared; optical imaging
12.  In vivo imaging of membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase with a novel activatable near-infrared fluorescence probe 
Cancer Science  2014;105(8):1056-1062.
Membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) is a protease activating MMP-2 that mediates cleavage of extracellular matrix components and plays pivotal roles in tumor migration, invasion and metastasis. Because in vivo noninvasive imaging of MT1-MMP would be useful for tumor diagnosis, we developed a novel near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence probe that can be activated following interaction with MT1-MMP in vivo. MT1-hIC7L is an activatable fluorescence probe comprised of anti-MT1-MMP monoclonal antibodies conjugated to self-assembling polymer micelles that encapsulate NIR dyes (IC7-1, λem: 858 nm) at concentrations sufficient to cause fluorescence self-quenching. In aqueous buffer, MT1-hIC7L fluorescence was suppressed to background levels and increased approximately 35.5-fold in the presence of detergent. Cellular uptake experiments revealed that in MT1-MMP positive C6 glioma cells, MT1-hIC7L showed significantly higher fluorescence that increased with time as compared to hIC7L, a negative control probe lacking the anti-MT1-MMP monoclonal antibody. In MT1-MMP negative MCF-7 breast adenocarcinoma cells, both MT1-hIC7L and hIC7L showed no obvious fluorescence. In addition, the fluorescence intensity of C6 cells treated with MT1-hIC7L was suppressed by pre-treatment with an MT1-MMP endocytosis inhibitor (P < 0.05). In vivo optical imaging using probes intravenously administered to tumor-bearing mice showed that MT1-hIC7L specifically visualized C6 tumors (tumor-to-background ratios: 3.8 ± 0.3 [MT1-hIC7L] vs 3.1 ± 0.2 [hIC7L] 48 h after administration, P < 0.05), while the probes showed similarly low fluorescence in MCF-7 tumors. Together, these results show that MT1-hIC7L would be a potential activatable NIR probe for specifically detecting MT1-MMP-expressing tumors.
PMCID: PMC4317866  PMID: 24863849
Activatable probe; membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase; molecular imaging; near-infrared; optical
13.  Structure–Activity Relationships and in Vivo Evaluation of Quinoxaline Derivatives for PET Imaging of β-Amyloid Plaques 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2013;4(7):596-600.
This letter describes the synthesis, structure–activity relationships, and in vivo evaluation of a new series of 2-phenylquinoxaline (PQ) derivatives for imaging β-amyloid (Aβ) plaques in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In experiments in vitro, the affinity of the derivatives for Aβ aggregates varied, with Ki values of 0.895 to 1180 nM. In brain sections from AD patients, derivatives with a Ki of less than 111 nM intensely labeled Aβ plaques, while those with values over 242 nM showed no marked labeling. In biodistribution experiments using normal mice, the derivatives showed good uptake into (4.69–7.59 %ID/g at 2 or 10 min postinjection) and subsequent washout from (1.48–3.08 %ID/g at 60 min postinjection) the brain. In addition, [18F]PQ-6 labeled Aβ plaques in vivo in APP transgenic mice, while it showed nonspecific binding in the white matter. Further structural optimization based on [18F]PQ-6 may lead to more useful PET probes for imaging Aβ plaques.
PMCID: PMC4027474  PMID: 24900717
Alzheimer’s disease (AD); β-amyloid (Aβ); PET; quinoxaline; structure−activity relationships
14.  Investigation of a MMP-2 Activity-Dependent Anchoring Probe for Nuclear Imaging of Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102180.
Since matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) is an important marker of tumor malignancy, we developed an original drug design strategy, MMP-2 activity dependent anchoring probes (MDAP), for use in MMP-2 activity imaging, and evaluated the usefulness of this probe in in vitro and in vivo experiments.
We designed and synthesized MDAP1000, MDAP3000, and MDAP5000, which consist of 4 independent moieties: RI unit (111In hydrophilic chelate), MMP-2 substrate unit (short peptide), anchoring unit (alkyl chain), and anchoring inhibition unit (polyethylene glycol (PEGn; where n represents the approximate molecular weight, n = 1000, 3000, and 5000). Probe cleavage was evaluated by chromatography after MMP-2 treatment. Cellular uptake of the probes was then measured. Radioactivity accumulation in tumor xenografts was evaluated after intravenous injection of the probes, and probe cleavage was evaluated in tumor homogenates.
MDAP1000, MDAP3000, and MDAP5000 were cleaved by MMP-2 in a concentration-dependent manner. MDAP3000 pretreated with MMP-2 showed higher accumulation in tumor cells, and was completely blocked by additional treatment with an MMP inhibitor. MDAP3000 exhibited rapid blood clearance and a high tumor accumulation after intravenous injection in a rodent model. Furthermore, pharmacokinetic analysis revealed that MDAP3000 exhibited a considerably slow washout rate from tumors to blood. A certain fraction of cleaved MDAP3000 existed in tumor xenografts in vivo.
The results indicate the possible usefulness of our MDAP strategy for tumor imaging.
PMCID: PMC4092090  PMID: 25010662
16.  Development of a Radioiodinated Triazolopyrimidine Probe for Nuclear Medical Imaging of Fatty Acid Binding Protein 4 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94668.
Fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4) is the most well-characterized FABP isoform. FABP4 regulates inflammatory pathways in adipocytes and macrophages and is involved in both inflammatory diseases and tumor formation. FABP4 expression was recently reported for glioblastoma, where it may participate in disease malignancy. While FABP4 is a potential molecular imaging target, with the exception of a tritium labeled probe there are no reports of other nuclear imaging probes that target this protein. Here we designed and synthesized a nuclear imaging probe, [123I]TAP1, and evaluated its potential as a FABP4 targeting probe in in vitro and in vivo assays. We focused on the unique structure of a triazolopyrimidine scaffold that lacks a carboxylic acid to design the TAP1 probe that can undergo facilitated delivery across cell membranes. The affinity of synthesized TAP1 was measured using FABP4 and 8-anilino-1-naphthalene sulfonic acid. [125I]TAP1 was synthesized by iododestannylation of a precursor, followed by affinity and selectivity measurements using immobilized FABPs. Biodistributions in normal and C6 glioblastoma-bearing mice were evaluated, and excised tumors were subjected to autoradiography and immunohistochemistry. TAP1 and [125I]TAP1 showed high affinity for FABP4 (Ki = 44.5±9.8 nM, Kd = 69.1±12.3 nM). The FABP4 binding affinity of [125I]TAP1 was 11.5- and 35.5-fold higher than for FABP3 and FABP5, respectively. In an in vivo study [125I]TAP1 displayed high stability against deiodination and degradation, and moderate radioactivity accumulation in C6 tumors (1.37±0.24% dose/g 3 hr after injection). The radioactivity distribution profile in tumors partially corresponded to the FABP4 positive area and was also affected by perfusion. The results indicate that [125I]TAP1 could detect FABP4 in vitro and partly in vivo. As such, [125I]TAP1 is a promising lead compound for further refinement for use in in vivo FABP4 imaging.
PMCID: PMC3986099  PMID: 24732569
17.  Quantification of Small Molecule Drugs in Biological Tissue Sections by Imaging Mass Spectrometry Using Surrogate Tissue-Based Calibration Standards 
Mass Spectrometry  2014;3(1):A0025.
Quantitative analysis of administered drugs in biological tissues is essential for understanding the mechanisms underlying their efficacy or toxicity. Imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) may allow the quantification of targeted drugs in tissue sections along with the visualization of their spatial distribution. In this study, surrogate tissue-based calibration standards were prepared to quantify a small molecule drug (S-777469 or raclopride) in tissue sections of mice administered with the drug, followed by analysis with a linear ion trap mass spectrometer equipped with a matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) source. The distribution of the drugs in the dissected organs was clearly visualized by MALDI-IMS. The drug concentration determined using the calibration standards prepared for MALDI-IMS analysis was highly consistent with that determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, and the quantification in multiple organs was enabled. The results of this study show that MALDI-IMS can be used to quantify small molecule drugs in biological tissue sections using surrogate tissue-based calibration standards.
PMCID: PMC3968287  PMID: 24738041
imaging mass spectrometry; matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization; quantification
18.  Development of Novel 123I-Labeled Pyridyl Benzofuran Derivatives for SPECT Imaging of β-Amyloid Plaques in Alzheimer’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74104.
Imaging of β-amyloid (Aβ) plaques in the brain may facilitate the diagnosis of cerebral β-amyloidosis, risk prediction of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and effectiveness of anti-amyloid therapies. The purpose of this study was to evaluate novel 123I-labeled pyridyl benzofuran derivatives as SPECT probes for Aβ imaging. The formation of a pyridyl benzofuran backbone was accomplished by Suzuki coupling. [123I/125I]-labeled pyridyl benzofuran derivatives were readily prepared by an iododestannylation reaction. In vitro Aβ binding assays were carried out using Aβ(1–42) aggregates and postmortem human brain sections. Biodistribution experiments were conducted in normal mice at 2, 10, 30, and 60 min postinjection. Aβ labeling in vivo was evaluated by small-animal SPECT/CT in Tg2576 transgenic mice injected with [123I]8. Ex vivo autoradiography of the brain sections was performed after SPECT/CT. Iodinated pyridyl benzofuran derivatives showed excellent affinity for Aβ(1–42) aggregates (2.4 to 10.3 nM) and intensely labeled Aβ plaques in autoradiographs of postmortem AD brain sections. In biodistribution experiments using normal mice, all these derivatives displayed high initial uptake (4.03–5.49% ID/g at 10 min). [125I]8 displayed the quickest clearance from the brain (1.30% ID/g at 60 min). SPECT/CT with [123I]8 revealed higher uptake of radioactivity in the Tg2576 mouse brain than the wild-type mouse brain. Ex vivo autoradiography showed in vivo binding of [123I]8 to Aβ plaques in the Tg2576 mouse brain. These combined results warrant further investigation of [123I]8 as a SPECT imaging agent for visualizing Aβ plaques in the AD brain.
PMCID: PMC3772825  PMID: 24058519
19.  BODIPY-Based Molecular Probe for Imaging of Cerebral β-Amyloid Plaques 
ACS Chemical Neuroscience  2012;3(4):319-324.
We designed and synthesized a BODIPY-based probe (BAP-1) for the imaging of β-amyloid plaques in the brain. In binding experiments in vitro, BAP-1 showed excellent affinity for synthetic Aβ aggregates. β-Amyloid plaques in Tg2576 mouse brain were clearly visualized with BAP-1. In addition, the labeling of β-amyloid plaques was demonstrated in vivo in Tg2576 mice. These results suggest BAP-1 to be a useful fluorescent probe for the optical imaging of cerebral β-amyloid plaques in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
PMCID: PMC3369805  PMID: 22860198
Alzheimer’s disease; β-amyloid plaque; BODIPY; optical imaging
20.  18F-Labeled Phenyldiazenyl Benzothiazole for in Vivo Imaging of Neurofibrillary Tangles in Alzheimer's Disease Brains 
We synthesized and evaluated (E)-4-((6-(2-(2-(2-fluoroethoxy)ethoxy)ethoxy)benzo[d]thiazol-2-yl)diazenyl)-N,N-dimethylaniline (FPPDB) as a probe for the imaging of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). In assays using thioflavin S (ThS) as a competitive ligand, FPPDB competed with ThS well and showed high affinity for both tau and Aβ1–42 aggregates (Ki = 13.0 and 20.0 nM, respectively). The results of saturation binding assays also verified that FPPDB bound to both tau and Aβ1–42 aggregates with high affinity (Kd = 44.8 nM and Bmax = 45.8 pmol/nmol protein for tau aggregates and Kd = 45.4 nM and Bmax = 38.9 pmol/nmol protein for Aβ1–42 aggregates). Furthermore, [18F]FPPDB substantially labeled NFTs and senile plaques in AD brain sections but not control brain sections. In biodistribution experiments using normal mice, [18F]FPPDB displayed higher uptake (4.28% ID/g at 2 min postinjection) into and washout (2.53% ID/g at 60 min postinjection) from the brain with time. On the basis of the chemical structure of FPPDB, further increases in selective binding to tau aggregates may lead to the development of more useful probes for the imaging of NFTs in AD brains.
PMCID: PMC4025873  PMID: 24900371
Alzheimer's disease (AD); neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs); imaging; benzothiazole; PET
21.  Radiolabelled probes for imaging of atherosclerotic plaques 
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Unstable atherosclerotic plaques are prone to rupture followed by thrombus formation, vessel stenosis, and occlusion and frequently lead to acute myocardial infarction and brain infarction. As such, unstable plaques represent an important diagnostic target in clinical settings and the specific diagnosis of unstable plaques would enable preventive treatments for cardiovascular disease. To date, various imaging methods such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound (US), and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) have been widely used clinically. Although these methods have advantages in terms of spatial resolution and the ability to make detailed identification of morphological alterations such as calcifications and vessel stenosis, these techniques require skill or expertise to discriminate plaque instability, which is essential for early diagnosis and treatment and can present difficulties for quantitative estimation. On the other hand, nuclear imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) can noninvasively collect quantitative information on the expression levels of functional molecules and metabolic activities in vivo and thus provide functional diagnoses of unstable plaques with high sensitivity. Specifically, unstable plaques are characterized by an abundance of invasive inflammatory cells (macrophages), increased oxidative stress that increases oxidized LDL and its receptor expressed on cells in the lesions, increased occurrence of apoptosis of macrophages and other cells involved in disease progression, increased protease expression and activity, and finally thrombus formation triggered by plaque rupture, which is the most important mechanism leading to the onset of infarctions and ischemic sudden death. Therefore, these characteristics can all be targets for molecular imaging by PET and SPECT. In this paper, we review the present state and future of radiolabelled probes that have been developed for detecting atherosclerotic unstable plaques with nuclear imaging techniques.
PMCID: PMC3484420  PMID: 23145360
Molecular imaging; atherosclerosis; plaque; positron emission tomography; single photon emission computed tomography; 2-[18F]Fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose; lectin-like oxidized low density lipoprotein receptor-1; apoptosis; matrix metalloproteinase; thrombus
22.  In Vivo Visualization of Heterogeneous Intratumoral Distribution of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α Activity by the Fusion of High-Resolution SPECT and Morphological Imaging Tests 
Purpose. We aimed to clearly visualize heterogeneous distribution of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF) activity in tumor tissues in vivo. Methods. We synthesized of 125I-IPOS, a 125I labeled chimeric protein probe, that would visualize HIF activity. The biodistribution of 125I-IPOS in FM3A tumor-bearing mice was evaluated. Then, the intratumoral localization of this probe was observed by autoradiography, and it was compared with histopathological findings. The distribution of 125I-IPOS in tumors was imaged by a small animal SPECT/CT scanner. The obtained in vivo SPECT-CT fusion images were compared with ex vivo images of excised tumors. Fusion imaging with MRI was also examined. Results. 125I-IPOS well accumulated in FM3A tumors. The intratumoral distribution of 125I-IPOS by autoradiography was quite heterogeneous, and it partially overlapped with that of pimonidazole. High-resolution SPECT-CT fusion images successfully demonstrated the heterogeneity of 125I-IPOS distribution inside tumors. SPECT-MRI fusion images could give more detailed information about the intratumoral distribution of 125I-IPOS. Conclusion. High-resolution SPECT images successfully demonstrated heterogeneous intratumoral distribution of 125I-IPOS. SPECT-CT fusion images, more favorably SPECT-MRI fusion images, would be useful to understand the features of heterogeneous intratumoral expression of HIF activity in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3385015  PMID: 22778544
23.  Rhodanine and Thiohydantoin Derivatives for Detecting Tau Pathology in Alzheimer’s Brains 
ACS Chemical Neuroscience  2011;2(5):269-275.
A novel series of rhodanin (RH) and thiohydantoin (TH) derivatives were designed and synthesized for detecting tau pathology in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In experiments in vitro using tau and β-amyloid (Aβ) aggregates, the TH derivative, TH2, showed high specific binding to tau aggregates. In hippocampal sections obtained from AD patients, TH2 intensely stained neurofibrillary tangles. In experiments using normal mice, [125I]TH2 showed good uptake (1.54%ID/g, 2 min postinjection) into and a rapid washout (0.25%ID/g, 60 min postinjection) from the brain. [123I]TH2 should be further investigated as a potential imaging agent for detecting tau pathology.
PMCID: PMC3369744  PMID: 22778869
Alzheimer’s disease; tau; imaging; rhodanine; thiohydantoin
24.  Advances in Drug Design of Radiometal-Based Imaging Agents for Bone Disorders 
Nuclear medicine bone imaging has been the optimum diagnosis for the detection of bone disorders because the lesion could be detectable before the appearance of symptomatic and radiographic changes. Over the past three decades, 99mTc-MDP and 99mTc-HMDP have been used as bone scintigraphic agents because of their superior biodistribution characteristics, although they are far from optimal from a chemical and pharmaceutical point of view. Recently, a more logical drug design has been proposed as a concept of bifunctional radiopharmaceuticals in which the carrier molecules (bisphosphonates) and radiometal chelating groups are separated within a molecule, specifically, 99mTc-mononuclear complex-conjugated bisphosphonate. Some of the 99mTc-mononuclear complex-conjugated bisphosphonate compounds showed superior biodistribution in preclinical studies. Moreover, the drug design concept could be applied to 68Ga PET bone imaging agents. These studies would provide useful information for the development of radiometal-based imaging and therapeutic agents for bone disorders such as bone metastases.
PMCID: PMC3246737  PMID: 22220275
25.  Novel Benzofurans with 99mTc Complexes as Probes for Imaging Cerebral β-Amyloid Plaques 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2010;1(8):443-447.
Two novel benzofuran derivatives coupled with 99mTc complexes were tested as probes for imaging cerebral β-amyloid plaques using single photon emission tomography. Although both derivatives bound to Aβ(1−42) aggregates, 99mTc-BAT-BF showed higher affinity than 99mTc-MAMA-BF. In sections of brain tissue from an animal model of AD, 99mTc-BAT-BF clearly labeled β-amyloid plaques. In biodistribution experiments using normal mice, 99mTc-BAT-BF displayed high uptake soon after its injection and washed out from the brain rapidly, a highly desirable feature for an imaging agent. 99mTc-BAT-BF may be a potential probe for imaging β-amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's brains.
PMCID: PMC4007700  PMID: 24900230
Alzheimer's disease; β-amyloid plaque; Tc-99m; single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT); imaging

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