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18.11.2019 | Original Article Open Access

Cell proliferation detected using [18F]FLT PET/CT as an early marker of abdominal aortic aneurysm

Journal of Nuclear Cardiology
MSc Richa Gandhi, PhD Christopher Cawthorne, PhD Lucinda J. L. Craggs, MSc John D. Wright, PhD Juozas Domarkas, PhD Ping He, MSc Joanna Koch-Paszkowski, Michael Shires, BMBS Andrew F. Scarsbrook, PhD Stephen J. Archibald, PhD Charalampos Tsoumpas, MB, ChB, PhD Marc A. Bailey
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12350-019-01946-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors of this article have provided a PowerPoint file, available for download at SpringerLink, which summarizes the contents of the paper and is free for re-use at meetings and presentations. Search for the article DOI on
The authors have also provided an audio summary of the article, which is available to download as ESM, or to listen to via the JNC/ASNC Podcast.
All editorial decisions for this article, including selection of reviewers and the final decision, were made by guest editor Jeroen J. Bax, MD, PhD.
Increased cellular proliferation in the AngII abdominal aortic aneurysm mouse model can be detected using [18F]FLT PET/CT.

Sources of Financial Assistance

This research was funded in part by the David Gamble Award for Secondments in PET-CT Imaging, a charitable donation from the James Ellis charitable trust, and The Academy of Medical Sciences (Clinical Lecturer Starter Grant to Dr Bailey, SGL017\1056). Dr. Bailey is personally funded by the British Heart Foundation Intermediate Clinical Research Fellowship (FS/18/12/33270). Ms. Gandhi is funded by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine-Innovation in Medical and Biological Engineering (EP/L014823/1). Dr. Tsoumpas is funded by a Royal Society Industry Fellowship (IF170011) and a Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Research & Innovation Staff Exchange (645757). Dr. He, Dr. Domarkas, and Professor Archibald are funded by the Daisy Appeal (DA-hul2011). Mr. Wright and Mrs. Koch-Paszkowski are funded by the British Heart Foundation, UK (SI/14/1/30718).

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a focal aortic dilatation progressing towards rupture. Non-invasive AAA-associated cell proliferation biomarkers are not yet established. We investigated the feasibility of the cell proliferation radiotracer, fluorine-18-fluorothymidine ([18F]FLT) with positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) in a progressive pre-clinical AAA model (angiotensin II, AngII infusion).

Methods and Results

Fourteen-week-old apolipoprotein E-knockout (ApoE−/−) mice received saline or AngII via osmotic mini-pumps for 14 (n = 7 and 5, respectively) or 28 (n = 3 and 4, respectively) days and underwent 90-minute dynamic [18F]FLT PET/CT. Organs were harvested from independent cohorts for gamma counting, ultrasound scanning, and western blotting. [18F]FLT uptake was significantly greater in 14- (n = 5) and 28-day (n = 3) AAA than in saline control aortae (n = 5) (P < 0.001), which reduced between days 14 and 28. Whole-organ gamma counting confirmed greater [18F]FLT uptake in 14-day AAA (n = 9) compared to saline-infused aortae (n = 4) (P < 0.05), correlating positively with aortic volume (r = 0.71, P < 0.01). Fourteen-day AAA tissue showed increased expression of thymidine kinase-1, equilibrative nucleoside transporter (ENT)-1, ENT-2, concentrative nucleoside transporter (CNT)-1, and CNT-3 than 28-day AAA and saline control tissues (n = 3 each) (all P < 0.001).


[18F]FLT uptake is increased during the active growth phase of the AAA model compared to saline control mice and late-stage AAA.

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