When small molecules or proteins are injected into live animals, their physical and chemical properties will significantly affect pharmacokinetics, tissue penetration, and the ultimate routes of metabolism and clearance. Fluorescence molecular tomography (FMT) offers the ability to non-invasively image and quantify temporal changes in fluorescence throughout the major organ systems of living animals, in a manner analogous to traditional approaches with radiolabeled agents. This approach is best used with biotherapeutics (therapeutic antibodies, or other large proteins) or large-scaffold drug-delivery vectors, that are minimally affected by low-level fluorophore conjugation. Application to small molecule drugs should take into account the significant impact of fluorophore labeling on size and physicochemical properties, however, the presents studies show that this technique is readily applied to small molecule agents developed for far-red (FR) or near infrared (NIR) imaging. Quantification by non-invasive FMT correlated well with both fluorescence from tissue homogenates as well as with planar (2D) fluorescence reflectance imaging of excised intact organs (r2 = 0.996 and 0.969, respectively). Dynamic FMT imaging (multiple times from 0 to 24 h) performed in live mice after the injection of four different FR/NIR-labeled agents, including immunoglobulin, 20–50 nm nanoparticles, a large vascular imaging agent, and a small molecule integrin antagonist, showed clear differences in the percentage of injected dose per gram of tissue (%ID/g) in liver, kidney, and bladder signal. Nanoparticles and IgG1 favored liver over kidney signal, the small molecule integrin-binding agent favored rapid kidney and bladder clearance, and the vascular agent, showed both liver and kidney clearance. Further assessment of the volume of distribution of these agents by fluorescent volume added information regarding their biodistribution and highlighted the relatively poor extravasation into tissue by IgG1. These studies demonstrate the ability of quantitative FMT imaging of FR/NIR agents to non-invasively visualize and quantify the biodistribution of different agents over time.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 22-June-2011
Author(s): Vasquez K., Casavant C., Peterson J.