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64Cu-Labeled LyP‑1-Dendrimer for PET-CT Imaging of Atherosclerotic Plaque

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015, 00:38 by Jai Woong Seo, Hyounggee Baek, Lisa M. Mahakian, Jiro Kusunose, Juliana Hamzah, Erkki Ruoslahti, Katherine W. Ferrara
The ability to detect and quantify macrophage accumulation can provide important diagnostic and prognostic information for atherosclerotic plaque. We have previously shown that LyP-1, a cyclic 9-amino acid peptide, binds to p32 proteins on activated macrophages, facilitating the visualization of atherosclerotic plaque with PET. Yet, the in vivo plaque accumulation of monomeric [18F]­FBA-LyP-1 was low (0.31 ± 0.05%ID/g). To increase the avidity of LyP-1 constructs to p32, we synthesized a dendritic form of LyP-1 on solid phase using lysine as the core structural element. Imaging probes (FAM or 6-BAT) were conjugated to a lysine or cysteine on the dendrimer for optical and PET studies. The N-terminus of the dendrimer was further modified with an aminooxy group in order to conjugate LyP-1 and ARAL peptides bearing a ketone. Oxime ligation of peptides to both dendrimers resulted in (LyP-1)4- and (ARAL)4-dendrimers with optical (FAM) and PET probes (6-BAT). For PET-CT studies, (LyP-1)4- and (ARAL)4-dendrimer-6-BAT were labeled with 64Cu (t1/2 = 12.7 h) and intravenously injected into the atherosclerotic (ApoE–/–) mice. After two hours of circulation, PET-CT coregistered images demonstrated greater uptake of the (LyP-1)4-dendrimer-64Cu than the (ARAL)4-dendrimer-64Cu in the aortic root and descending aorta. Ex vivo images and the biodistribution acquired at three hours after injection also demonstrated a significantly higher uptake of the (LyP-1)4-dendrimer-64Cu (1.1 ± 0.26%ID/g) than the (ARAL)4-dendrimer-64Cu (0.22 ± 0.05%ID/g) in the aorta. Similarly, subcutaneous injection of the LyP-1-dendrimeric carriers resulted in preferential accumulation in plaque-containing regions over 24 h. In the same model system, ex vivo fluorescence images within aortic plaque depict an increased accumulation and penetration of the (LyP-1)4-dendrimer-FAM as compared to the (ARAL)4-dendrimer-FAM. Taken together, the results suggest that the (LyP-1)4-dendrimer can be applied for in vivo PET imaging of plaque and that LyP-1 could be further exploited for the delivery of therapeutics with multivalent carriers or nanoparticles.