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12.08.2016 | Research Article | Ausgabe 2/2017

Molecular Imaging and Biology 2/2017

Assessment of Molecular Acoustic Angiography for Combined Microvascular and Molecular Imaging in Preclinical Tumor Models

Zeitschrift:
Molecular Imaging and Biology > Ausgabe 2/2017
Autoren:
Brooks D. Lindsey, Sarah E. Shelton, F. Stuart Foster, Paul A. Dayton
Wichtige Hinweise
Brooks D. Lindsey and Sarah E. Shelton contributed equally to this work

Abstract

Purpose

The purposes of the present study is to evaluate a new ultrasound molecular imaging approach in its ability to image a preclinical tumor model and to investigate the capacity to visualize and quantify co-registered microvascular and molecular imaging volumes.

Procedures

Molecular imaging using the new technique was compared with a conventional ultrasound molecular imaging technique (multi-pulse imaging) by varying the injected microbubble dose and scanning each animal using both techniques. Each of the 14 animals was randomly assigned one of three doses; bolus dose was varied, and the animals were imaged for three consecutive days so that each animal received every dose. A microvascular scan was also acquired for each animal by administering an infusion of nontargeted microbubbles. These scans were paired with co-registered molecular images (VEGFR2-targeted microbubbles), the vessels were segmented, and the spatial relationships between vessels and VEGFR2 targeting locations were analyzed. In five animals, an additional scan was performed in which the animal received a bolus of microbubbles targeted to E- and P-selectins. Vessel tortuosity as a function of distance from VEGF and selectin targeting was analyzed in these animals.

Results

Although resulting differences in image intensity due to varying microbubble dose were not significant between the two lowest doses, superharmonic imaging had significantly higher contrast-to-tissue ratio (CTR) than multi-pulse imaging (mean across all doses 13.98 dB for molecular acoustic angiography vs. 0.53 dB for multi-pulse imaging; p = 4.9 × 10−10). Analysis of registered microvascular and molecular imaging volumes indicated that vessel tortuosity decreases with increasing distance from both VEGFR2- and selectin-targeting sites.

Conclusions

Molecular acoustic angiography (superharmonic molecular imaging) exhibited a significant increase in CTR at all doses tested due to superior rejection of tissue artifact signals. Due to the high resolution of acoustic angiography molecular imaging, it is possible to analyze spatial relationships in aligned microvascular and molecular superharmonic imaging volumes. Future studies are required to separate the effects of biomarker expression and blood flow kinetics in comparing local tortuosity differences between different endothelial markers such as VEGFR2, E-selectin, and P-selectin.

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