This study examines the quantitative accuracy, detection sensitivity, and time course of imaging the expression of a mutant herpes simplex type-1 virus thymidine kinase (HSV1-sr39tk) PET reporter gene in rat myocardium by using the PET reporter probe 9-(4-[18F]-Fluoro-3-Hydroxymethylbutyl)-Guanine ([18F]-FHBG) and a small-animal PET (microPET).In 40 rats, adenovirus expressing HSV1-sr39tk driven by a cytomegalovirus promoter (Ad-CMV-HSV1-sr39tk, 1x10(6) to 1x10(9) pfu) was injected through a thoracotomy directly into the left ventricular myocardium. After 3 days, myocardial perfusion was imaged with [13N]-ammonia for delineating the left ventricular myocardium, followed by imaging the expression of the reporter gene with intravenous [18F]-FHBG. The total myocardial [18F]-FHBG accumulation was quantified in percent of injected dose (%ID). Immunohistochemistry and autoradiography demonstrated HSV1-sr39tk enzyme (HSV1-sr39TK) and accumulation of [18F]-FHBG in the inoculated myocardium in 3 rats each. In 24 rats with various viral titers, the %ID was correlated with ex vivo well counting (r2=0.981, P<0.0001) and myocardial HSV1-sr39TK activity by tissue enzyme activity assay (r2=0.790, P<0.0001). Myocardial [18F]-FHBG accumulation was identified at viral titers down to 1x10(7) pfu. In 6 rats serially imaged up to day 17, myocardial [18F]-FHBG accumulation on microPET peaked on days 3 to 5 and was no longer identified on days 10 to 17.HSV1-sr39tk reporter gene expression can be monitored with [18F]-FHBG and microPET in rat myocardium quantitatively and serially with high detection sensitivity. Cardiac PET reporter gene imaging offers the potential of monitoring the expression of therapeutic genes in cardiac gene therapy.
View details for DOI 10.1161/01.CIR.0000044385.60972.AE
View details for Web of Science ID 000180785700022
View details for PubMedID 12538436