Imaging reporter gene expression is useful for noninvasive monitoring of gene therapy. In this study, we imaged cardiac reporter gene expression in living rats using micro positron emission tomography (microPET).Rats (n=10) underwent intramyocardial injection with 1x10(9) pfu of adenovirus carrying cytomegalovirus promoter-driving herpes simplex virus type 1 mutant thymidine kinase (Ad-CMV-HSV1-sr39tk) as PET reporter gene. Control rats (n=4) received 1x10(9) pfu of adenovirus carrying cytomegalovirus promoter-driving firefly luciferase (Ad-CMV-Fluc). On days 2 to 4, microPET images were obtained after a tail vein injection of nitrogen-13 ammonia ([13N]-NH3) as myocardial perfusion tracer, followed by 9-(4-[18F]-fluoro-3 hydroxymethylbutyl) guanine ([18F]-FHBG) to assess HSV1-sr39tk expression. After imaging, hearts were removed for ex vivo [18F] gamma counting and thymidine kinase enzyme assay. Results show homogenous myocardial distribution of [13N]-NH3 on all microPET images. Rats injected with Ad-CMV-HSV1-sr39tk have significant [18F]-FHBG uptake in the anterolateral wall compared with background signal in controls. Gamma counting shows 20.0+/-4.4-fold increase of radioactivity, whereas enzyme assay shows 22.1+/-6.1-fold increase of thymidine kinase activity in Ad-CMV-HSV1-sr39tk injected rats (P<0.05).Successful imaging of cardiac HSV1-sr39tk expression was performed in living rats with microPET. The presence of [18F]-FHBG uptake is confirmed by gamma counting and the presence of HSV1-sr39TK protein by thymidine kinase enzyme assay. Cardiac reporter gene imaging by PET may eventually be applied toward human gene therapy studies.
View details for DOI 10.1161/01.CIR.0000023620.59633.53
View details for Web of Science ID 000176820500016
View details for PubMedID 12105155