Vascular adhesion protein-1 (VAP-1) is an adhesion molecule, which upon inflammation is rapidly translocated from intracellular sources to the endothelial cell surface. We have recently discovered that sialic acid- binding immunoglobulin-like lectin 9 (Siglec-9) is a leukocyte ligand of VAP-1 and that 68Ga-labeled Siglec-9 motif peptide facilitates in vivo imaging of inflammation. This study evaluated the feasibility of 68Ga-DOTA-Siglec-9 positron emission tomography (PET) for the assessment of synovitis.
Rabbits with synovial inflammation were injected with 18F-FDG or 68Ga-DOTA-Siglec-9 and studied by gamma counting and autoradiography. Certain rabbits were also examined with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). After PET imaging, rabbits were intravenously administered with anti-VAP-1 antibody to evaluate luminal expression of VAP-1 by immunohistochemistry. Finally, binding of Siglec-9 peptide and VAP-1 positive vessels were evaluated by double staining of rheumatoid arthritis synovium.
Intra-articular injection of hemagglutinin induced mild synovial inflammation in rabbit knee with luminal expression of VAP-1. Synovitis was clearly visualized by 68Ga-DOTA-Siglec-9 PET in addition to 18F-FDG-PET and MRI. Compared with the 18F-FDG, the ex vivo inflamed-to-control synovium ratio of 68Ga-DOTA-Siglec-9 was similar (1.7 ± 0.4 vs. 1.5 ± 0.2, P = 0.32). Double staining revealed that Siglec-9 peptide binds to VAP-1 positive vessels in human rheumatoid synovium.
Ga-DOTA-Siglec-9 PET tracer detected VAP-1 positive vasculature in the mild synovitis of rabbits comparable with 18F-FDG, suggesting its potential for in vivo imaging of synovial inflammation in patients with rheumatic diseases.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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