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Detecting infection and inflammation with technetium-99m-labeled Stealth liposomes


, : Detecting infection and inflammation with technetium-99m-labeled Stealth liposomes. Journal of Nuclear Medicine 37(8): 1392-1397

The performance of 99mTc Stealth liposomes was investigated in various rat models. Methods: Preformed polyethyleneglycol-containing liposomes with encapsulated reduced glutathione, were radiolabeled using the lipophilic 99mTc-HMPAO. The labeled liposomes were intravenously administered to rats with focal S. aureus or E. coli infection, or turpentine-induced inflammation. For comparison, Tc-99m-nanocolloid- and 99mTc-labeled nonspecific IgG were tested. In rats with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), Tc-99m-liposomes were directly compared to In-111 labeled nonspecific IgG. Results. Technetium-99m-liposomes accumulated in the infectious and inflammatory muscle foci over 24 hr (0.59% injected dose per gram tissue (%ID/g) for E. coli, 0.98 %ID/g for S. aureus, 1.18 %ID/g for turpentine). Abscess-to-muscle ratios increased to values as high as 24.0, 41.7 and 44.5 for the respective models at 24 hr postinjection. Technetium-99m-liposomes visualized the foci as early as 1 hr postinjection. Technetium-99m-IgG visualized S. aureus infection, but abscess-to-muscle ratios and abscess uptake at the later time points were significantly lower. Technetium-99mn-anocolloid failed to visualize any of the muscle foci. In PCP however, 99mTc-liposomes did not show preferential localization in the infection. The control agent 111In-IgG showed a significant, two-fold increase in lung uptake. Conclusion: Technetium-99m Stealth liposomes preferentially accumulated in abscesses, leading to very high target-to-nontarget ratios. This property appears to be related to a process based on uptake of long-circulating particles. In a specific type of infection, i.c. PCP, 99mTc-liposomes did not accumulate in diseased lung tissue, thus mimicking the in vivo behavior of labeled leukocytes.

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PMID: 8708782


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