Atherosclerosis-related morbidity and mortality remain a global concern. Atherosclerotic disease follows a slow and silent progression, and the transition from early-stage lesions to vulnerable plaques remains difficult to diagnose. Inflammation is a key component of the development of atherosclerotic plaque and consequent life-threatening complications. This study assessed 111 In-DANBIRT as an in vivo, noninvasive SPECT/CT imaging probe targeting an inflammatory marker, Lymphocyte Function Associated Antigen-1 (LFA-1), in atherosclerotic plaques. Methods. Selective binding of 111 In-DANBIRT was assessed using Sprague-Dawley rats exposed to filtered air and ozone (1 ppm) by inhalation for 4 hours to induce a circulating leukocytosis and neutrophilia in peripheral blood. After 24 hours, whole blood was collected and incubated with radiolabeled DANBIRT ( 68 Ga-DANBIRT and 111 In-DANBIRT). Isolated cell component smeared slides using cytospin technique were stained with Wright-Giemsa stain. Apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE -/- ) mice were fed either a normal diet or a high-fat diet (HFD) for 8 weeks. Longitudinal SPECT/CT imaging was performed 3 hours after administration at baseline, 4, and 8 weeks of HFD diet, followed by tissue harvesting for biodistribution, serum lipid analysis, and histology. 3D autoradiography was performed in both groups 24 hours after administration of 111 In-DANBIRT. Results. Increased specific uptake of radiolabeled DANBIRT by neutrophils in the ozone-exposed group was evidenced by the acute immune response due to 4-hour ozone exposure. Molecular imaging performed at 3 hours using SPECT/CT imaging evidenced an exponential longitudinal increase in 111 In-DANBIRT uptake in atherosclerosis lesions in HFD-fed mice compared to normal-diet-fed mice. Such results were consistent with increased immune response to vascular injury in cardiovascular and also immune tissues, correlated by 24 hours after administration of 3D autoradiography. Histologic analysis confirmed atherosclerotic disease progression with an increased vascular lesion area in HFD-fed mice compared to normal-diet-fed mice. Conclusion. 111 In-DANBIRT is a promising molecular imaging probe to assess inflammation in evolving atheroma and atherosclerotic plaque.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Support provided by the KECK-UNM Small-Animal Imaging Resource (KUSAIR), the UNM Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, and NIH (ES014639) is gratefully acknowledged. Selita N. Lucas is gratefully acknowledged for her technical expertise and contributions to the animal studies.
© 2018 Roberto Mota et al.