PET of cardiac transgene expression: comparison of 2 approaches based on herpesviral thymidine kinase reporter gene.
ABSTRACT PET of reporter gene expression holds promise for noninvasive monitoring of gene therapy. Previously, 2 approaches based on the herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase gene (HSV1-tk) have been successfully applied to the heart. Wild-type HSV1-tk was imaged with (124)I-labeled 2'-fluoro-2'-deoxy-5-iodo-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl-5-iodouracil (FIAU), and a mutant HSV1-tk (HSV1-sr39tk) was imaged with (18)F-labeled 9-[4-fluoro-3-(hydroxymethyl)butyl]guanine (FHBG). The aim of this study was to compare these 2 combinations with regard to specificity, imaging contrast, and reporter probe kinetics using dynamic PET in small and large animals.
Similar titers of adenovirus-expressing wild-type HSV1-tk (Ad(tk)), mutant HSV1-sr39tk (Ad(sr39tk)), or control genes were directly injected into the myocardium of 24 rats and 8 pigs. Two days later, dynamic PET was performed with a clinical scanner during the 120 min after injection of (124)I-FIAU (Ad(tk) animals and controls) or (18)F-FHBG (Ad(sr39tk) animals and controls). Imaging with (13)N-ammonia was performed to identify cardiac regions of interest.
In rats, significant cardiac (124)I-FIAU accumulation occurred in images obtained early (10-30 min) after Ad(tk) injection. Because of tracer washout, however, no difference between Ad(tk)-injected animals and controls was seen in the images obtained later. For (18)F-FHBG, specific myocardial accumulation greater than background levels was detected in Ad(sr39tk)-injected animals at early imaging and, in contrast to (124)I-FIAU accumulation, increased over time until the latest imaging (105-120 min). At maximum, cardiac (18)F-FHBG concentration showed a 4.15 +/- 1.65-fold increase compared with controls (105-120 min), and cardiac (124)I-FIAU concentration reached a maximal increase of 1.34 +/- 0.38-fold compared with controls (10-30 min, P = 0.0014). Global cardiac reporter probe kinetics in rats were confirmed by regional myocardial analysis in pig hearts. Transgene expression was specifically visualized by both approaches. The highest target-to-background ratio of (124)I-FIAU in Ad(tk)-infected pig myocardium was 1.50 +/- 0.20, versus 2.64 +/- 0.49 for (18)F-FHBG in Ad(sr39tk)-infected areas (P = 0.01). In vivo results were confirmed by ex vivo counting and autoradiography.
Both reporter gene/probe combinations were feasible for noninvasive imaging of cardiac transgene expression in different species. Specific probe kinetics suggest different myocardial handling of pyrimidine (FIAU) and acycloguanosine (FHBG) derivatives. The results favor (18)F-FHBG with mutant HSV1-sr39tk because of continuous accumulation over time and higher imaging contrast.
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ABSTRACT: Introduction: Cardiovascular gene therapy is the third most popular application for gene therapy, representing 8.4% of all gene therapy trials as reported in 2012 estimates. Gene therapy in cardiovascular disease is aiming to treat heart failure from ischemic and non-ischemic causes, peripheral artery disease, venous ulcer, pulmonary hypertension, atherosclerosis and monogenic diseases, such as Fabry disease. Areas covered: In this review, we will focus on elucidating current molecular targets for the treatment of ventricular dysfunction following myocardial infarction (MI). In particular, we will focus on the treatment of i) the clinical consequences of it, such as heart failure and residual myocardial ischemia and ii) etiological causes of MI (coronary vessels atherosclerosis, bypass venous graft disease, in-stent restenosis). Expert opinion: We summarise the scheme of the review and the molecular targets either already at the gene therapy clinical trial phase or in the pipeline. These targets will be discussed below. Following this, we will focus on what we believe are the 4 prerequisites of success of any gene target therapy: safety, expression, specificity and efficacy (SESE).Expert opinion on biological therapy 12/2013; DOI:10.1517/14712598.2014.866085 · 3.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The long-term fate of stem cells after intramyocardial delivery is unknown. We used noninvasive, repetitive PET/CT imaging with [(18)F]FEAU to monitor the long-term (up to 5 months) spatial-temporal dynamics of MSCs retrovirally transduced with the sr39HSV1-tk gene (sr39HSV1-tk-MSC) and implanted intramyocardially in pigs with induced acute myocardial infarction. Repetitive [(18)F]FEAU PET/CT revealed a biphasic pattern of sr39HSV1-tk-MSC dynamics; cell proliferation peaked at 33-35 days after injection, in periinfarct regions and the major cardiac lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes. The sr39HSV1-tk-MSC-associated [(18)F]FEAU signals gradually decreased thereafter. Cardiac lymphography studies using PG-Gd-NIRF813 contrast for MRI and near-infrared fluorescence imaging showed rapid clearance of the contrast from the site of intramyocardial injection through the subepicardial lymphatic network into the lymphatic vessels and periaortic lymph nodes. Immunohistochemical analysis of cardiac tissue obtained at 35 and 150 days demonstrated several types of sr39HSV1-tk expressing cells, including fibro-myoblasts, lymphovascular cells, and microvascular and arterial endothelium. In summary, this study demonstrated the feasibility and sensitivity of [(18)F]FEAU PET/CT imaging for long-term, in-vivo monitoring (up to 5 months) of the fate of intramyocardially injected sr39HSV1-tk-MSC cells. Intramyocardially transplanted MSCs appear to integrate into the lymphatic endothelium and may help improve myocardial lymphatic system function after MI.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(9):e22949. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0022949 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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