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The use of (99m)Technetium-labeled MCP-1 to assess, graft coronary artery disease in rat cardiac allografts JOURNAL OF HEART AND LUNG TRANSPLANTATION Kown, M. H., Jahncke, C. L., Lijkwan, M. A., Koransky, M. L., Mari, C., Berry, G. J., Blankenberg, F. G., Strauss, H. W., Robbins, R. C. 2002; 21 (9): 1009-1015


Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) is associated with the development of graft coronary artery disease (GCAD) following cardiac transplantation. This study assessed whether technetium 99m ((99m)Tc)-labeled MCP-1 binds its receptors in chronic cardiac transplants and thereby provides a potential modality to assess GCAD.Allogeneic (PVG-->ACI, n = 9) and syngeneic (ACI-->ACI, n = 9) rat heterotopic heart transplants were performed. Allograft recipients were treated with 7.5 mg/kg per day of Cyclosporin A for 10 days until tolerance was achieved. After 90 days, animals were injected intravenously with (99m)Tc-MCP-1 and killed after 1 hour. Radioactivity of heart tissues was measured and standardized to uptake in the overall blood pool. Two-dimensional (99m)Tc-MCP-1 uptake (autoradiographs) was imaged by exposing 50-microm sections on a phosphoimager overnight. ED-1 staining of monocyte/macrophages was performed on serial sections. Additional sections were stained with elastin von Gieson and hematoxylin. Hearts were scored for luminal narrowing and intima/media ratio (I/M) with computerized image analysis.Allografts exhibited significantly more luminal narrowing (22.5 +/- 10.7% vs 2.6 +/- 4.6, p = 0.0005) and higher I/M (0.173 +/- 0.151 vs 0.015 +/- 0.029, p = 0.0088) than isografts. The ratio of (99m)Tc-MCP-1 uptake in allografts (1.04 +/- 0.4) was greater than that of isograft controls (0.72 +/- 0.11, p = 0.03). Pixel counts of autoradiographs and ED-1-stained sections demonstrated a modest correlation between the two (R(2) = 0.50). No significant differences were seen in acute rejection scores.(99m)Tc-MCP-1 uptake was higher in allografts vs isografts and was consistent with a greater degree of GCAD. These data demonstrating increased radiopharmaceutical uptake in hearts with GCAD provide a foundation for the development of a potentially non-invasive imaging assay of this disease process in heart transplantation.

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