J Nucl Med 2019 01 5;60(1):122-128. Epub 2018 Jul 5.
Department of Radiology, Stanford University, Stanford California
Neuroinflammation plays a key role in neuronal injury after ischemic stroke. PET imaging of translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO) permits longitudinal, noninvasive visualization of neuroinflammation in both preclinical and clinical settings. Many TSPO tracers have been developed, however, it is unclear which tracer is the most sensitive and accurate for monitoring the in vivo spatiotemporal dynamics of neuroinflammation across applications. Hence, there is a need for head-to-head comparisons of promising TSPO PET tracers across different disease states. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to directly compare 2 promising second-generation TSPO tracers, C-DPA-713 and F-GE-180, for the first time at acute and chronic time points after ischemic stroke. After distal middle cerebral artery occlusion or sham surgery, mice underwent consecutive PET/CT imaging with C-DPA-713 and F-GE-180 at 2, 6, and 28 d after stroke. T2-weighted MR images were acquired to enable delineation of ipsilateral (infarct) and contralateral brain regions of interest (ROIs). PET/CT images were analyzed by calculating percentage injected dose per gram in MR-guided ROIs. SUV ratios were determined using the contralateral thalamus (SUV) as a pseudoreference region. Ex vivo autoradiography and immunohistochemistry were performed to verify in vivo findings. Significantly increased tracer uptake was observed in the ipsilateral compared with contralateral ROI (SUV, 50-60 min summed data) at acute and chronic time points using C-DPA-713 and F-GE-180. Ex vivo autoradiography confirmed in vivo findings demonstrating increased TSPO tracer uptake in infarcted versus contralateral brain tissue. Importantly, a significant correlation was identified between microglial/macrophage activation (cluster of differentiation 68 immunostaining) and C-DPA-713- PET signal, which was not evident with F-GE-180. No significant correlations were observed between TSPO PET and activated astrocytes (glial fibrillary acidic protein immunostaining). C-DPA-713 and F-GE-180 PET enable detection of neuroinflammation at acute and chronic time points after cerebral ischemia in mice. C-DPA-713 PET reflects the extent of microglial activation in infarcted distal middle cerebral artery occlusion mouse brain tissue more accurately than F-GE-180 and appears to be slightly more sensitive. These results highlight the potential of C-DPA-713 for tracking microglial activation in vivo after stroke and warrant further investigation in both preclinical and clinical settings.