Τρίτη, 26 Φεβρουαρίου 2019

Molecular Imaging, vol. 12

  1. 3D Fusion Framework for Infarction and Angiogenesis Analysis in a Myocardial Infarct Minipig Model

    PhD1PhD, MD2MSc1PhD1PhD1PhD2PhD1
    Molecular Imaging, vol. 16First Published May 11, 2017.
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    Abstract

    The combination of different modality images can provide detailed and comprehensive information for the prognostic assessment and therapeutic strategy of patients with ischemic heart disease. In this study, a 3D fusion framework is designed to integrate coronary computed tomography (CT) angiography (CTA), 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose ([18F]DG) positron emission tomography (PET)/CT, and [68Ga]-1,4,7-triazacyclononane-1,4,7-triacetic acid-(Arg-Gly-Asp)2 ([68Ga]-NOTA-PRGD2) PET/CT images of the myocardial infarction model in minipigs. First, the structural anatomy of the heart in coronary CTA and CT is segmented using a multi-atlas-based method. Then, the hearts are registered using the B-spline-based free form deformation. Finally, the [18F]DG and [68Ga]-NOTA-PRGD2 signals are mapped into the heart in coronary CTA, which produces a single fusion image to delineate both the cardiac structural anatomy and the functional information of myocardial viability and angiogenesis. Heart segmentation demonstrates high accuracy with good agreement between manual delineation and automatic segmentation. The fusion result intuitively reflects the extent of the [18F]DG uptake defect as well as the location where the [68Ga]-NOTA-PRGD2 signal appears. The fusion result verified the occurrence of angiogenesis based on the in vivo noninvasive molecular imaging approach. The presented framework is helpful in facilitating the study of the relationship between infarct territories and blocked coronary arteries as well as angiogenesis.

  2. Open Access

    Whole-Body Distribution of Leukemia and Functional Total Marrow Irradiation Based on FLT-PET and Dual-Energy CT

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 16First Published September 26, 2017.
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    Abstract

    This report describes a multimodal whole-body 3′-deoxy-3′[(18)F]-fluorothymidine positron emission tomography (FLT-PET) and dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) method to identify leukemia distribution within the bone marrow environment (BME) and to develop disease- and/or BME-specific radiation strategies. A control participant and a newly diagnosed patient with acute myeloid leukemia prior to induction chemotherapy were scanned with FLT-PET and DECT. The red marrow (RM) and yellow marrow (YM) of the BME were segmented from DECT using a basis material decomposition method. Functional total marrow irradiation (fTMI) treatment planning simulations were performed combining FLT-PET and DECT imaging to differentially target irradiation to the leukemia niche and the rest of the skeleton. Leukemia colonized both RM and YM regions, adheres to the cortical bone in the spine, and has enhanced activity in the proximal/distal femur, suggesting a potential association of leukemia with the BME. The planning target volume was reduced significantly in fTMI compared with conventional TMI. The dose to active disease (standardized uptake value >4) was increased by 2-fold, while maintaining doses to critical organs similar to those in conventional TMI. In conclusion, a hybrid system of functional–anatomical–physiological imaging can identify the spatial distribution of leukemia and will be useful to both help understand the leukemia niche and develop targeted radiation strategies.

  3. Open Access

    Vulnerable Plaque Detection and Quantification with Gold Particle–Enhanced Computed Tomography in Atherosclerotic Mouse Models

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 14, 6First Published June 1, 2015.
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    Abstract

    Recently, an apolipoprotein E–deficient (ApoE−/−) mouse model with a mutation (C1039G+/−) in the fibrillin-1 (Fbn1) gene (ApoE−/−Fbn1C1039G+/− mouse model) was developed showing vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques, prone to rupture, in contrast to the ApoE−/− mouse model, where mainly stable plaques are present. One indicator of plaque vulnerability is the level of macrophage infiltration. Therefore, this study aimed to measure and quantify in vivo the macrophage infiltration related to plaque development and progression. For this purpose, 5-weekly consecutive gold nanoparticle–enhanced micro–computed tomography (microCT) scans were acquired. Histology confirmed that the presence of contrast agent coincided with the presence of macrophages. Based on the microCT scans, regions of the artery wall with contrast agent present were calculated and visualized in three dimensions. From this information, the contrast-enhanced area and contrast-enhanced centerline length were calculated for the branches of the carotid bifurcation (common, external, and internal carotid arteries). Statistical analysis showed a more rapid development and a larger extent of plaques in the ApoE−/−Fbn1C1039G+/− compared to the ApoE−/−mice. Regional differences between the branches were also observable and quantifiable. We developed and applied a methodology based on gold particle–enhanced microCT to visualize the presence of macrophages in atherosclerotic plaques in vivo.

  4. Open Access

    Complementary Use of Bioluminescence Imaging and Contrast-Enhanced Micro—Computed Tomography in an Orthotopic Brain Tumor Model

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 13, 4First Published January 1, 2015.
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    Abstract

    Small animal models are crucial to link molecular discoveries and implementation of clinically relevant therapeutics in oncology. Using these models requires noninvasive imaging techniques to monitor disease progression and therapy response. Micro–computed tomography (CT) is less studied for the in vivo monitoring of murine intracranial tumors and traditionally suffers from poor soft tissue contrast, whereas bioluminescence imaging (BLI) is known for its sensitivity but is not frequently employed for quantifying tumor volume. A widely used orthotopic glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumor model was applied in nude mice, and tumor growth was evaluated by BLI and contrast-enhanced microCT imaging. A strong correlation was observed between CT volume and BLI-integrated intensity (Pearson coefficient (r) = .85, p = .0002). Repeated contouring of contrast-enhanced microCT-delineated tumor volumes achieved an intraobserver average pairwise overlap ratio of 0.84 and an average tumor volume coefficient of variance of 0.11. MicroCT-delineated tumor size was found to correlate with tumor size obtained via histologic analysis (Pearson coefficient (r) = .88, p = .005). We conclude that BLI intensity can be used to derive tumor volume but that the use of both contrast-enhanced microCT and BLI provides complementary tumor growth information, which is particularly useful for modern small animal irradiation devices that make use of microCT and BLI for treatment planning, targeting, and monitoring.

  5. Free Access

    Development and Validation of a Complete GATE Model of the Siemens Inveon Trimodal Imaging Platform

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 12, 7First Published October 1, 2013.
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    Abstract

    This article presents and validates a newly developed GATE model of the Siemens Inveon trimodal imaging platform. Fully incorporating the positron emission tomography (PET), single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and computed tomography (CT) data acquisition subsystems, this model enables feasibility studies of new imaging applications, the development of reconstruction and correction algorithms, and the creation of a baseline against which experimental results for real data can be compared. Model validation was based on comparing simulation results against both empirical and published data. The PET modality was validated using the NEMA NU-4 standard. Validations of SPECT and CT modalities were based on assessment of model accuracy compared to published and empirical data on the platform. Validation results show good agreement between simulation and empirical data of approximately ± 5%.

  6. Free Access

    Use of eXIA 160 XL for Contrast Studies in Micro–Computed Tomography: Experimental Observations

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 12, 6First Published September 1, 2013.
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    Abstract

    The purpose of this study was to evaluate the time course of contrast enhancement of spleen, liver, and blood using eXIA 160 XL in healthy mice. eXIA 160 XL was intravenously injected in C57bl/6 mice (n = 12) at a dose of 0.1 mL/20 g (16 mg iodine [I]/20 g) (n = 6) or 0.2 mL/20 g (32 mg I/20 g) (n = 6). The distribution was analyzed by repeated micro–computed tomographic scans up to 48 hours after contrast administration. Images were analyzed using Amidesoftware. Regions of interest were drawn in the spleen, liver, and left ventricle. Contrast enhancement was measured and expressed as a function of time. Peak contrast enhancement of the spleen was reached at 30 minutes, and peak contrast enhancement of the liver occurred 45 minutes after 16 mg I/20 g. Given that this contrast was found to be rather low in the spleen in comparison with former eXIA 160 products, experiments were done at a higher dose. However, the 32 mg I/20 g dose was lethal for mice. Enhancement inside the heart lasts for 1 hour. Administration of eXIA 160 XL results in long-lasting blood pool contrast with higher contrast enhancement in heart and liver in comparison with eXIA 160; however, the administered dose should be limited to 16 mg I/20 g.

  7. Free Access

    Comparison of Computed Tomography– and Optical Image–Based Assessment of Liposome Distribution

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 12, 3First Published May 1, 2013.
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    Abstract

    The use of multimodal imaging as a tool to assess the in vivo pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of nanocarriers is important in understanding the nature of their in vivo transport. The current study reports the development of a nano-sized liposomal computed tomographic (CT)/optical imaging probe carrying iohexol and Cy5.5 and its use in micro-CT and optical imaging to quantitatively assess the whole-body (macroscopic), intratumoral, and microscopic distribution over a period of 8 days. These multimodal liposomes have a vascular half-life of 30.3 ± 8.9 hours in mice bearing subcutaneous H520 non-small cell lung cancer tumors, with the maximum liposome accumulation in tumor achieved 48 hours postinjection. The in vivo liposome distribution and stability were quantitatively assessed using both micro-CT and fluorescence molecular tomography. The combination of CT and optical imaging enables visualization of the liposomes at the whole-body, tumor, and cellular scales with high sensitivity. Such noninvasive tracking of therapeutic vehicles at the macro- and microscale is important for informed and rational development of novel nanocarrier systems.


Molecular Imaging, vol. 13

  1. Decreased Taurine and Creatine in the Thalamus May Relate to Behavioral Impairments in Ethanol-Fed Mice: A Pilot Study of Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

    PhD1MS1MD, PhD12PhD3PhD4PhD5PhD6PhD7PhD8,MD1MD, PhD1
    Molecular Imaging, vol. 17First Published January 10, 2018.
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    Abstract

    Minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) is highly prevalent, observed in up to 80% of patients with liver dysfunction. Minimal hepatic encephalopathy is defined as hepatic encephalopathy with cognitive deficits and no grossly evident neurologic abnormalities. Clinical management may be delayed due to the lack of in vivo quantitative methods needed to reveal changes in brain neurobiochemical biomarkers. To gain insight into the development of alcoholic liver disease–induced neurological dysfunction (NDF), a mouse model of late-stage alcoholic liver fibrosis (LALF) was used to investigate changes in neurochemical levels in the thalamus and hippocampus that relate to behavioral changes. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the brain and behavioral testing were performed to determine neurochemical alterations and their relationships to behavioral changes in LALF. Glutamine levels were higher in both the thalamus and hippocampus of alcohol-treated mice than in controls. Thalamic levels of taurine and creatine were significantly diminished and strongly correlated with alcohol-induced behavioral changes. Chronic long-term alcohol consumption gives rise to advanced liver fibrosis, neurochemical changes in the nuclei, and behavioral changes which may be linked to NDF. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy represents a sensitive and noninvasive measurement of pathological alterations in the brain, which may provide insight into the pathogenesis underlying the development of MHE.

  2. Open Access

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Characterization of a Chick Embryo Model of Cancer Cell Metastases

    PhD1PhD2PhD2PhD2PhD1
    Molecular Imaging, vol. 17First Published November 5, 2018.
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    Abstract

    Metastasis is the most common cause of death for patients with cancer. To fully understand the steps involved in metastatic dissemination, in vivo models are required, of which murine ones are the most common. Therefore, preclinical imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have mainly been developed for small mammals and their potential to monitor cancer growth and metastasis in nonmammalian models is not fully harnessed. We have here used MRI to measure primary neuroblastoma tumor size and metastasis in a chick embryo model. We compared its sensitivity and accuracy to end-point fluorescence detection upon dissection. Human neuroblastoma cells labeled with green fluorescent protein (GFP) and micron-sized iron particles were implanted on the extraembryonic chorioallantoic membrane of the chick at E7. T2 RARE, T2-weighted fast low angle shot (FLASH) as well as time-of-flight MR angiography imaging were applied at E14. Micron-sized iron particle labeling of neuroblastoma cells allowed in ovo observation of the primary tumor and tumor volume measurement noninvasively. Moreover, T2 weighted and FLASH imaging permitted the detection of small metastatic deposits in the chick embryo, thereby reinforcing the potential of this convenient, 3R compliant, in vivo model for cancer research.

  3. Open Access

    Image-Based Analysis of Tumor Localization After Intra-Arterial Delivery of Technetium-99m-Labeled SPIO Using SPECT/CT and MRI

    MD, PhD1MS23MD, PhD24PhD24PhD2BS2MD, PhD45,MD, PhD2MD, PhD24MD6BS6MD, PhD67MD, PhD6
    Molecular Imaging, vol. 16First Published January 24, 2017.
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    Abstract

    The aim of this study is to evaluate the localization of 99mTc-labeled dextran-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles to the liver tumor using image-based analysis. We delivered 99mTc-SPIO intravenously or intra-arterially (IA) with/without Lipiodol to compare the tumor localization by gamma scintigraphy, single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in a rabbit liver tumor. The gamma and SPECT image-based analysis shows that the uptake ratio of the tumor to the normal liver parenchyma is highest after delivery of 99mTc-SPIO with Lipiodol IA and that well correlates with the trend of the signal decrease in the liver MRIs. Intra-arterial delivery of SPIO with Lipiodol might be a good drug delivery system targeting the hepatic tumors, as confirmed by image-based analysis.

  4. Open Access

    Preclinical Multimodal Molecular Imaging Using 18F-FDG PET/CT and MRI in a Phase I Study of a Knee Osteoarthritis in In Vivo Canine Model

    DVM, PhD1DrMedVet12PhD3MD, PhD1
    Molecular Imaging, vol. 16First Published March 24, 2017.
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    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to use a multimodal molecular imaging approach to serially assess regional metabolic changes in the knee in an in vivo anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) canine model of osteoarthritis (OA). Five canine underwent ACLT in one knee and the contralateral knee served as uninjured control. Prior, 3, 6, and 12 weeks post-ACLT, the dogs underwent 18F-fluoro-d-glucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The MRI was coregistered with the PET/CT, and 3-dimensional regions of interest (ROIs) were traced manually and maximum standardized uptake values (SUVmax) were evaluated. 18F-fluoro-d-glucose SUVmax in the ACLT knee ROIs was significantly higher compared to the uninjured contralateral knees at 3, 6, and 12 weeks. Higher 18F-FDG uptake observed in ACLT knees compared to the uninjured knees reflects greater metabolic changes in the injured knees over time. Knee 18F-FDG uptake in an in vivo ACLT canine model using combined PET/CT and MRI demonstrated to be highly sensitive in the detection of metabolic alterations in osseous and nonosteochondral structures comprising the knee joint. 18F-fluoro-d-glucose appeared to be a capable potential imaging biomarker for early human knee OA diagnosis, prognosis, and management.

  5. Open Access

    Commentary on "A Microfluidic Platform to Design Crosslinked Hyaluronic Acid Nanoparticles (cHANPs) for Enhanced MRI"

    PhD12PhD3PhD124PhD14
    Molecular Imaging, vol. 16First Published May 15, 2017.
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    Abstract

    Strategies to enhance the relaxometric properties of gadolinium (Gd)-based contrast agents (CAs) for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), without the chemical modification of chelates, have recently had a strong impact on the diagnostic field. We have taken advantage of the interaction between Gadolinium diethylenetriamine penta-acetic acid (Gd-DTPA) and the hydrogel structure of hyaluronic acid to design cross-linked hyaluronic acid nanoparticles down to 35 nm for use in MRI applications. The proposed bioformulations enable the control of the relaxometric properties of CAs, thus boosting the relaxation rate of T1. Our results led us to identify this approach as an adjustable scenario to design intravascularly injectable hydrogel nanoparticles entrapping Gd-DTPA. This approach overcomes the general drawbacks of clinically approved CAs having poor relaxivity and toxic effects.

  6. Open Access

    Phosphatidylserine-Targeted Nanotheranostics for Brain Tumor Imaging and Therapeutic Potential

    MD, PhD1MD23MD, PhD45MD46MD, PhD13
    Molecular Imaging, vol. 16First Published May 15, 2017.
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    Abstract

    Phosphatidylserine (PS), the most abundant anionic phospholipid in cell membrane, is strictly confined to the inner leaflet in normal cells. However, this PS asymmetry is found disruptive in many tumor vascular endothelial cells. We discuss the underlying mechanisms for PS asymmetry maintenance in normal cells and its loss in tumor cells. The specificity of PS exposure in tumor vasculature but not normal blood vessels may establish it a useful biomarker for cancer molecular imaging. Indeed, utilizing PS-targeting antibodies, multiple imaging probes have been developed and multimodal imaging data have shown their high tumor-selective targeting in various cancers. There is a critical need for improved diagnosis and therapy for brain tumors. We have recently established PS-targeted nanoplatforms, aiming to enhance delivery of imaging contrast agents across the blood–brain barrier to facilitate imaging of brain tumors. Advantages of using the nanodelivery system, in particular, lipid-based nanocarriers, are discussed here. We also describe our recent research interest in developing PS-targeted nanotheranostics for potential image-guided drug delivery to treat brain tumors.

  7. Open Access

    Feasibility of Na18F PET/CT and MRI for Noninvasive In Vivo Quantification of Knee Pathophysiological Bone Metabolism in a Canine Model of Post-traumatic Osteoarthritis

    DVM, PhD1DrMedVet12PhD3MD, PhD1
    Molecular Imaging, vol. 16First Published July 21, 2017.
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    Abstract

    To assess and quantify by molecular imaging knee osseous metabolic changes serially in an in vivo canine model of posttraumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) of the knee utilizing sodium fluoride (Na18F) positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) coregistered with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

    Sodium fluoride PET imaging of 5 canines was performed prior to anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) and 2 times post-ACLT (3 and 12 weeks). The PET/CT was coregistered with MRI, enabling serial anatomically guided visual and quantitative three-dimensional (3D) region of interest (ROI) assessment by maximum standardized uptake value.

    Prior to ACLT, every 3D ROI assessed in both knees showed no Na18F uptake above background. The uptake of Na18F in the bone of the ACLT knees increased exponentially, presenting significantly higher uptake at 12 weeks in every region compared to the ACLT knees at baseline. Furthermore, the uninjured contralateral limb and the ipsilateral distal bones and joints presented Na18F uptake at 3 and 12 weeks post-ACLT.

    This study demonstrated that Na18F PET/CT coregistered with MRI is a feasible molecular imaging biomarker to assess knee osseous metabolic changes serially in an in vivo canine model of knee PTOA. Moreover, it brings a novel musculoskeletal preclinical imaging methodology that can provide unique insights into PTOA pathophysiology.

  8. Open Access

    Rethinking Brain Cancer Therapy: Tumor Enzyme Activatable Theranostic Nanoparticles

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 16First Published September 20, 2017.
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    Abstract

    This invited commentary discusses a recent article by Mohanty et al in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics about significant therapeutic efficacies of novel theranostic nanoparticles (TNPs) for the treatment of human brain cancers in mouse models. The TNPs were cleaved by enzymes in the tumor tissue, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP-14), which lead to release of a highly potent therapeutic drug, azademethylcolchicine. Data showed that the TNPs caused selective toxic effects in MMP-14-expressing glioblastoma and not normal brain. In addition, the iron oxide nanoparticle backbone enabled in vivo drug tracking with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This commentary discusses previous efforts of MMP-targeted therapeutics as well as opportunities for further refinements of tumor enzyme-activatable TNPs. If successfully translated to clinical applications, the TNPs might hold substantial potential to improving cytotoxic indexes and long-term outcomes of patients with brain cancer compared to standard therapy.

  9. Open Access

    Labeling Human Melanoma Cells With SPIO: In Vitro Observations

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 15First Published January 29, 2016.
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    Abstract

    To use the superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) contrast agent Resovist (±transfection agent) to label human melanoma cells and determine its effects on cellular viability, microstructure, iron quantity, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) detectability.

    Human SK-Mel28 melanoma cells were incubated with Resovist (±liposomal transfection agent DOSPER). The cellular iron content was measured, and labeled cells were examined at 1.5 T and 3.0 T. The intracellular and extracellular distributions of the contrast agent were assessed by light and electron microscopy.

    The incubation of melanoma cells with SPIO does not interfere with cell viability or proliferation. The iron is located both intracellularly and extracellularly as iron clusters associated with the exterior of the cell membrane. Despite thorough washing, the extracellular SPIO remained associated with the cell membrane. The liposomal transfection agent does not change the maximum achievable cellular iron content but promotes a faster iron uptake. The MRI detectability persists for at least 7 days.

    The transfection agent DOSPER facilitates the efficient labeling of human metastatic melanoma cells with Resovist. Our findings raise the possibility that other Resovist-labeled cells may collect associated extracellular nanoparticles. The SPIO may be available to other iron-handling cells and not completely compartmentalized during the labeling procedure.

  10. Open Access

    MS-1 magA: Revisiting Its Efficacy as a Reporter Gene for MRI

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 15First Published April 26, 2016.
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    Abstract

    Bacterial genes involved in the biomineralization of magnetic nanoparticles in magnetotactic bacteria have recently been proposed as reporters for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In such systems, the expression of the bacterial genes in mammalian cells purportedly leads to greater concentrations of intracellular iron or the biomineralization of iron oxides, thus leading to an enhancement in relaxation rate that is detectable via MRI. Here, we show that the constitutive expression of the magA gene from Magnetospirillum magnetotacticum is tolerated by human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells but induces a strong toxic effect in murine mesenchymal/stromal cells and kidney-derived stem cells, severely restricting its effective use as a reporter gene for stem cells. Although it has been suggested that magA is involved in iron transport, when expressed in HEK cells, it does not affect the transcription of endogenous genes related to iron homeostasis. Furthermore, the magA-induced enhancement in iron uptake in HEK cells is insignificant, suggesting this gene is a poor reporter even for cell types that can tolerate its expression. We suggest that the use of magA for stem cells should be approached with caution, and its efficacy as a reporter gene requires a careful assessment on a cell-by-cell basis.

  11. Open Access

    Assessing Metabolic Changes in Response to mTOR Inhibition in a Mantle Cell Lymphoma Xenograft Model Using AcidoCEST MRI

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 15First Published May 2, 2016.
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    Abstract

    AcidoCEST magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has previously been shown to measure tumor extracellular pH (pHe) with excellent accuracy and precision. This study investigated the ability of acidoCEST MRI to monitor changes in tumor pHe in response to therapy. To perform this study, we used the Granta 519 human mantle cell lymphoma cell line, which is an aggressive B-cell malignancy that demonstrates activation of the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. We performed in vitro and in vivo studies using the Granta 519 cell line to investigate the efficacy and associated changes induced by the mTOR inhibitor, everolimus (RAD001). AcidoCEST MRI studies showed a statistically significant increase in tumor pHe of 0.10 pH unit within 1 day of initiating treatment, which foreshadowed a decrease in tumor growth of the Granta 519 xenograft model. AcidoCEST MRI then measured a decrease in tumor pHe 7 days after initiating treatment, which foreshadowed a return to normal tumor growth rate. Therefore, this study is a strong example that acidoCEST MRI can be used to measure tumor pHe that may serve as a marker for therapeutic efficacy of anticancer therapies.

  12. Open Access

    Investigating the Relationship between Transverse Relaxation Rate (R2) and Interecho Time in MagA-Expressing, Iron-Labeled Cells

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 14, 12First Published December 1, 2015.
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    Abstract

    Reporter gene–based labeling of cells with iron is an emerging method of providing magnetic resonance imaging contrast for long-term cell tracking and monitoring cellular activities. This report investigates 9.4 T nuclear magnetic resonance properties of mammalian cells overexpressing MagA, a putative iron transport protein from magnetotactic bacteria. MagA-expressing MDA-MB-435 cells were cultured in the presence and absence of iron supplementation and compared to the untransfected control. The relationship between the transverse relaxation rate (R2) and interecho time was investigated using the Carr-Purcell-Meiboom-Gill sequence. This relationship was analyzed using a model based on water diffusion in weak magnetic field inhomogeneities (Jensen-Chandra model) as well as a fast-exchange model (Luz-Meiboom model). Increases in R2 with increasing interecho time were larger in the iron-supplemented, MagA-expressing cells compared to other cells. The dependence of R2 on interecho time in these iron-supplemented, MagA-expressing cells was better represented by the Jensen-Chandra model compared to the Luz-Meiboom model, whereas the Luz-Meiboom model performed better for the remaining cell types. Our findings provide an estimate of the distance scale of microscopic magnetic field variations in MagA-expressing cells, which is thought to be related to the size of iron-containing vesicles.

  13. Open Access

    EphA2 as a Diagnostic Imaging Target in Glioblastoma: A Positron Emission Tomography/Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 14, 6First Published July 1, 2015.
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    Abstract

    Noninvasive imaging is a critical technology for diagnosis, classification, and subsequent treatment planning for patients with glioblastoma. It has been shown that the EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) is overexpressed in a number of tumors, including glioblastoma. Expression levels of Eph RTKs have been linked to tumor progression, metastatic spread, and poor patient prognosis. As EphA2 is expressed at low levels in normal neural tissues, this protein represents an attractive imaging target for delineation of tumor infiltration, providing an improved platform for image-guided therapy. In this study, EphA2-4B3, a monoclonal antibody specific to human EphA2, was labeled with 64Cu through conjugation to the chelator 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-1,4,7-triacetic acid (NOTA). The resulting complex was used as a positron emission tomography (PET) tracer for the acquisition of high-resolution longitudinal PET/magnetic resonance images. EphA2-4B3-NOTA-64Cu images were qualitatively and quantitatively compared to the current clinical standards of [18F]FDOPA and gadolinium (Gd) contrast–enhanced MRI. We show that EphA2-4B3-NOTA-64Cu effectively delineates tumor boundaries in three different mouse models of glioblastoma. Tumor to brain contrast is significantly higher in EphA2-4B3-NOTA-64Cu images than in [18F]FDOPA images and Gd contrast–enhanced MRI. Furthermore, we show that nonspecific uptake in the liver and spleen can be effectively blocked by a dose of nonspecific (isotype control) IgG.

  14. Open Access

    Monoclonal Antibody–Conjugated Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for Imaging of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor–Targeted Cells and Gliomas

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 14, 5First Published May 1, 2015.
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    Abstract

    The objective of this study was to successfully synthesize epidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibody–conjugated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (EGFRmAb-SPIONs) and explore their biocompatibility and potential applications as a targeted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent for the EGFR-specific detection of brain glioma in vivo. After conjugation of EGFRmAb with SPIONs, the magnetic characteristics of EGFRmAb-SPIONs were investigated. Thereafter, the targeting abilities of EGFRmAb-SPIONs with MRI were qualitatively and quantitatively assessed in EGFR-positive C6 glioma cells in vitro and in a Wistar rat model bearing C6 glioma in vivo. Furthermore, the preliminary biocompatibility and toxicity of EGFRmAb-SPIONs were evaluated in normal rats through hematology assays and histopathologic analyses. Statistical analysis was performed using one-way analysis of variance and Student t-test, with a significance level of p < .05. From the results of EGFRmAb-SPION characterizations, the average particle size was 10.21 nm and the hydrodynamic diameter was 161.5 ± 2.12 nm. The saturation magnetization was 55 emu/g·Fe, and T2 relaxivity was 92.73 s−1mM−1 in distilled water. The preferential accumulation of the EGFRmAb-SPIONs within glioma and subsequent MRI contrast enhancement were demonstrated both in vitro in C6 cells and in vivo in rats bearing C6 glioma. After intravenous administration of EGFRmAb-SPIONs, T2-weighted MRI of the rat model with brain glioma exhibited an apparent hypointense region within glioma from 2 to 48 hours. The maximal image contrast was reached at 24 hours, where the signal intensity decreased and the R2 value increased by 30% compared to baseline. However, T2-weighted imaging of the rat model administered with SPIONs showed no visible signal changes within the tumor over the same time period. Moreover, no evident toxicities in vitro and in vivo with EGFRmAb-SPIONs were clearly identified based on the laboratory examinations. EGFRmAb-SPIONs could potentially be employed as a targeted contrast agent in the molecule-specific diagnosis of brain glioma in MRI.

  15. Open Access

    Gadospin F—Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Diagnosis and Monitoring of Atherosclerosis: Validation with Transmission Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Fluorescence Imaging in the Apolipoprotein E—Deficient Mouse

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 14, 1First Published January 1, 2015.
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    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of noninvasive monitoring of plaque burden in apolipoprotein E–deficient (ApoE−/−) mice by Gadospin F (GDF)-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Gadolinium uptake in plaques was controlled using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) microscopy. To monitor the progression of atherosclerosis, ApoE−/− (n = 5) and wild-type (n = 2) mice were fed a Western diet and imaged at 5, 10, 15, and 20 weeks. Contrast-enhanced MRI was performed at 7 T Clinscan (Bruker, Ettlingen, Germany) before and 2 hours after intravenous injection of GDF (100 μmol/kg) to determine the blood clearance. Plaque size and contrast to noise ratio (CNR) were calculated for each time point using region of interest measurements to evaluate plaque progression. Following MRI, aortas were excised and GDF uptake was cross-validated by TEM and XRF microscopy. The best signal enhancement in aortic plaque was achieved 2 hours after application of GDF. No signal differences between pre- and postcontrast MRI were detectable in wild-type mice. We observed a gradual and considerable increase in plaque CNR and size for the different disease stages. TEM and XRF microscopy confirmed the localization of GDF within the plaque. GDF-enhanced MRI allows noninvasive and reliable estimation of plaque burden and monitoring of atherosclerotic progression in vivo.

  16. Open Access

    Magnetic Resonance Tracking of Endothelial Progenitor Cells Labeled with Alkyl-Polyethylenimine 2 kDa/Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide in a Mouse Lung Carcinoma Xenograft Model

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 13, 9First Published November 1, 2014.
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    Abstract

    The potential of using endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in novel anticancer therapy and the repair of vascular injury has been increasingly recognized. In the present study, EPCs were labeled with N-alkyl-polyethylenimine 2 kDa (PEI2k)-stabilized superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) to facilitate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of EPCs in a mouse lung carcinoma xenograft model. EPCs derived from human peripheral blood were labeled with alkyl-PEI2k/SPIO. The viability and activity of labeled cells were evaluated using proliferation, migration, and tubulogenesis assays. Alkyl-PEI2k/SPIO-labeled EPCs were injected intravenously (group 1) or mixed and injected together with A549 cells subcutaneously (group 2) into groups of six mice with severe combined immunodeficiency. The labeling efficiency with alkyl-PEI2k/SPIO at 7 mg Fe/mL concentration was approximately 100%. Quantitative analysis of cellular iron was 6.062 ± 0.050 pg/cell. No significant effects on EPC proliferation, migration, or tubulogenesis were seen after labeling. Seventesla micro-MRI showed the presence of schistic or linear hypointense regions at the tumor margins starting from days 7 to 8 after EPC administration. This gradually extended into the inner tumor layers in group 1. In group 2, tumor growth was accompanied by dispersion of low-signal intensity regions inside the tumor. Iron-positive cells identified by Prussian blue dye were seen at the sites identified using MRI. Human CD31-positive cells and mouse CD31-positive cells were present in both groups. Labeling EPCs with alkyl-PEI2k/SPIO allows noninvasive magnetic resonance investigation of EPC involvement in tumor neovasculature and is associated with excellent biocompatibility and MRI sensitivity.

  17. Open Access

    Ultrashort Echo Time Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lung Using a High-Relaxivity T1 Blood-Pool Contrast Agent

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 13, 8First Published October 1, 2014.
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    Abstract

    The lung remains one of the most challenging organs to image using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) due to intrinsic rapid signal decay. However, unlike conventional modalities such as computed tomography, MRI does not involve radiation and can provide functional and morphologic information on a regional basis. Here we demonstrate proof of concept for a new MRI approach to achieve substantial gains in a signal to noise ratio (SNR) in the lung parenchyma: contrast-enhanced ultrashort echo time (UTE) imaging following intravenous injection of a high-relaxivity blood-pool manganese porphyrin T1 contrast agent. The new contrast agent increased relative enhancement of the lung parenchyma by over 10-fold compared to gadolinium diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA), and the use of UTE boosted the SNR by a factor of 4 over conventional T1-weighted gradient echo acquisitions. The new agent also maintains steady enhancement over at least 60 minutes, thus providing a long time window for obtaining high-resolution, high-quality images and the ability to measure a number of physiologic parameters.

  18. Open Access

    Manganese-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Early Detection and Characterization of Breast Cancers

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 13, 7First Published September 1, 2014.
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    Abstract

    Very early cancer detection is the key to improving cure. Our objective was to investigate manganese (Mn)-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for very early detection and characterization of breast cancers. Eighteen NOD scid gamma mice were inoculated with MCF7, MDA, and LM2 breast cancer cells and imaged periodically on a 3 T scanner beginning on day 6. T1-weighted imaging and T1 measurements were performed before and 24 hours after administering MnCl2. At the last imaging session, Gd-DTPA was administered and tumors were excised for histology (hematoxylin-eosin and CD34 staining). All mice, except for two inoculated with MCF7 cells, developed tumors. Tumors enhanced uniformly on Mn and showed clear borders. Early small tumors (# 5 mm3) demonstrated the greatest enhancement with a relative R1 (1/T1) change of 1.57 ± 0.13. R1 increases correlated with tumor size (r = −.34, p − .04). Differences in R1 increases among the three tumor subtypes were most evident in early tumors. Histology confirmed uniform cancer cell distribution within tumor masses and vasculature in the periphery, which was consistent with rim-like enhancement on Gd-DTPA. Mn-enhanced MRI is a promising approach for detecting very small breast cancers in vivo and may be valuable for very early cancer detection.

  19. Open Access

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging Visualization of Vulnerable Atherosclerotic Plaques at the Brachiocephalic Artery of Apolipoprotein E Knockout Mice by the Blood-Pool Contrast Agent B22956/1

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 13, 5First Published July 1, 2014.
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    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to identify, by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the ability of the blood-pool contrast agent B22956/1 to detect atherosclerotic plaques developing at the brachiocephalic artery of apolipoprotein E knockout (apoE-KO) mice and to possibly identify vulnerable atherosclerotic lesions. After high-fat feeding for 8 or 12 weeks, MRIs of brachiocephalic arteries were acquired before and after B22956/1 administration; then vessels were removed and analyzed by histology. B22956/1 injection caused a rapid increase in plaque signal enhancement and plaque to muscle contrast values, which remained stable up to 70 minutes. A linear correlation between signal enhancement and macrophage content was found 10 minutes after B22956/1 injection (p < .01). Signal enhancement and plaque to muscle contrast values correlated with macrophage content 40 minutes after contrast agent administration (p < .01). Finally, 70 minutes after B22956/1 infusion, plaque to muscle contrast significantly correlated with the percentage of stenosis (p < .005). B22956/1 administration to high fat-fed apoE-KO mice resulted in a rapid enhancement of atherosclerotic plaques and in a great ability to rapidly visualize vulnerable plaques, characterized by a high macrophage content. These results suggest that B22956/1 could represent an interesting tool for the identification of atherosclerotic plaques potentially leading to acute cardiovascular events.

  20. Open Access

    Noninvasive Manganese-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Early Detection of Breast Cancer Metastatic Potential

    Molecular Imaging, vol. 13, 1First Published January 1, 2014.
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    Abstract

    Cancer cells with a high metastatic potential will more likely escape and form distant tumors. Once the cancer has spread, a cure is rarely possible. Unfortunately, metastasis often proceeds unnoticed until a secondary tumor has formed. The culprit is that current imaging-based cancer screening and diagnosis are limited to assessing gross physical changes, not the earliest cellular changes that drive cancer progression. The purpose of this study is to develop a novel noninvasive magnetic resonance (MR) cellular imaging capability for characterizing the metastatic potential of breast cancer and enable early cancer detection. This MR method relies on imaging cell uptake of manganese, an endogenous calcium analogue and an MR contrast agent, to detect aggressive cancer cells. Studies on normal breast epithelial cells and three breast cancer cell lines, from nonmetastatic to highly metastatic, demonstrated that aggressive cancer cells appeared significantly brighter on MR as a result of altered cell uptake of manganese. In vivo results in nude rats showed that aggressive tumors that are otherwise unseen on conventional gadolinium-enhanced MR imaging are detected after manganese injection. This cellular MR imaging technology brings a critically needed, unique dimension to cancer imaging by enabling us to identify and characterize metastatic cancer cells at their earliest appearance.


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