Autoradiographical assessment of inflammation-targeting radioligands for atherosclerosis imaging: potential for plaque phenotype identification

Eric J. Meester, Erik de Blois, Boudewijn J. Krenning, Antonius F.W. van der Steen, Jeff P. Norenberg, Kim van Gaalen, Monique R. Bernsen, Marion de Jong, Kim van der Heiden*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Many radioligands have been developed for the visualization of atherosclerosis by targeting inflammation. However, interpretation of in vivo signals is often limited to plaque identification. We evaluated binding of some promising radioligands in an in vitro approach in atherosclerotic plaques with different phenotypes. Methods: Tissue sections of carotid endarterectomy tissue were characterized as early plaque, fibro-calcific plaque, or phenotypically vulnerable plaque. In vitro binding assays for the radioligands [111In]In-DOTATATE; [111In]In-DOTA-JR11; [67Ga]Ga-Pentixafor; [111In]In-DANBIRT; and [111In]In-EC0800 were conducted, the expression of the radioligand targets was assessed via immunohistochemistry. Radioligand binding and expression of radioligand targets was investigated and compared. Results: In sections characterized as vulnerable plaque, binding was highest for [111In]In-EC0800; followed by [111In]In-DANBIRT; [67Ga]Ga-Pentixafor; [111In]In-DOTA-JR11; and [111In]In-DOTATATE (0.064 ± 0.036; 0.052 ± 0.029; 0.011 ± 0.003; 0.0066 ± 0.0021; 0.00064 ± 0.00014 %Added activity/mm2, respectively). Binding of [111In]In-DANBIRT and [111In]In-EC0800 was highest across plaque phenotypes, binding of [111In]In-DOTA-JR11 and [67Ga]Ga-Pentixafor differed most between plaque phenotypes. Binding of [111In]In-DOTATATE was the lowest across plaque phenotypes. The areas positive for cells expressing the radioligand’s target differed between plaque phenotypes for all targets, with lowest percentage area of expression in early plaque sections and highest in phenotypically vulnerable plaque sections. Conclusions: Radioligands targeting inflammatory cell markers showed different levels of binding in atherosclerotic plaques and among plaque phenotypes. Different radioligands might be used for plaque detection and discerning early from vulnerable plaque. [111In]In-EC0800 and [111In]In-DANBIRT appear most suitable for plaque detection, while [67Ga]Ga-Pentixafor and [111In]In-DOTA-JR11 might be best suited for differentiation between plaque phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
JournalEJNMMI Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the University Medical Center Erasmus MC.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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