Radiopharmaceuticals: new antimicrobial agents.

Department of Infectious Diseases, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Trends in Biotechnology (Impact Factor: 9.66). 03/2003; 21(2):70-3. DOI: 10.1016/S0167-7799(02)00032-X
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Small antimicrobial peptides are good candidates for new antimicrobial agents. A scintigraphic approach to studying the pharmacokinetics of antimicrobial peptides in animals has been developed. The peptides were safely and reproducibly labelled with technetium-99m and, after intravenous injection of the radiolabelled peptides into infected animals, scintigraphy allowed real-time quantification of the peptide in the various body compartments. Antimicrobial peptides rapidly accumulated at sites of infection but not at sites of sterile inflammation, indicating that radiolabelled antimicrobial peptides could be used in detection of infection. These radiopharmaceuticals enabled the efficacy of antibacterial therapy in animals to be monitored. The scintigraphic approach provides a useful method for investigating the pharmacokinetics of small peptides in animals.

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    ABSTRACT: Antimicrobial peptides such as ubiquicidin (UBI) are believed to differentiate between mammalian and bacterial or fungal cells. (99m)Tc-UBI29-41 was previously tested for detecting infection in humans using SPECT. For the present study, the UBI fragment UBI29-41 (TGRAKRRMQYNRR) was conjugated to 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-triacetic acid (NOTA), radiolabeled with (68)Ga, and investigated in a rabbit infection model. (68)Ga was obtained from a 1.85-GBq (68)Ge/(68)Ga generator. New Zealand White rabbits were anesthetized with ketamine/medetomidine before tracer administration and placed in a clinical PET/CT scanner. (68)Ga-1,4,7-triazacyclononane-1,4,7-triacetic-acid-ubiquicidin29-41 ((68)Ga-NOTA-UBI29-41) was formulated in saline solution, and 101 ± 41 MBq were administered intravenously. The tracer distribution was studied by PET/CT imaging in animals (a) that were healthy, (b) bearing muscular Staphylococcus aureus infections and turpentine oil-induced muscular inflammations, and (c) bearing ovalbumin-induced lung inflammations. Static PET/CT imaging was performed at different time intervals up to 120 min after injection. For calculation of target-to-nontarget ratios, standardized uptake values were normalized against healthy thigh muscle, representing nontargeted tissue. PET/CT images of healthy animals showed predominant distribution in the kidneys, liver, and bladder; heart and spleen showed moderate, declining uptake, only. The biologic half-life in blood was 29 min. Urinary accumulation of (68)Ga-NOTA-UBI29-41 peaked at 3.8 ± 0.91 percentage injected dose per gram (%ID) at 120 min, and 88 ± 5.2 %ID was recovered in total urine. (68)Ga-NOTA-UBI29-41 imaging in (b) selectively visualized the muscular infection site and was differentiated from sterile inflammatory processes. Standardized uptake value ratios for muscles (infected/inflamed) were 2.9 ± 0.93, 2.9 ± 0.50, 3.5 ± 0.86, and 3.8 ± 0.90 at 5, 30, 60, and 90 min after injection, respectively. Rabbit lungs with asthma showed insignificant uptake. (68)Ga-NOTA-UBI29-41 was strongly localized in bacteria-infected areas and minimally detected in a sterile inflammation area in rabbit muscles. The findings propose this compound to be an excellent first-line PET/CT tracer to allow the distinguishing of infection from inflammation.
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