Spinal cord inflammation: Molecular imaging after thoracic aortic ischemia reperfusion injury

Hassan Albadawi, John W. Chen, Rahmi Oklu, Yue Wu, Gregory Wojtkiewicz, Benjamin Pulli, John D. Milner, Richard P. Cambria, Michael T. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate whether noninvasive molecular imaging technologies targeting myeloperoxidase (MPO) can reveal early inflammation associated with spinal cord injury after thoracic aortic ischemia-reperfusion (TAR) in mice. Materials and Methods: The study was approved by the institutional animal care and use committee. C57BL6 mice that were 8-10 weeks old underwent TAR (n = 55) or sham (n = 26) surgery. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging (n = 6) or single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)/computed tomography (CT) (n = 15) studies targeting MPO activity were performed after intravenous injection of MPO sensors (bis-5-hydroxytryptamide-tetraazacyclododecane [HT]-diethyneletriaminepentaacetic acid [DTPA]-gadolinium or indium 111-bis-5-HT-DTPA, respectively). Immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry were used to identify myeloid cells and neuronal loss. Proinflammatory cytokines, keratinocyte chemoattractant (KC), and interleukin 6 (IL-6) were measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Statistical analyses were performed by using nonparametric tests and the Pearson correlation coefficient. P < .05 was considered to indicate a significant difference. Results: Myeloid cells infiltrated into the injured cord at 6 and 24 hours after TAR. MR imaging confirmed the presence of ischemic lesions associated with mild MPO-mediated enhancement in the thoracolumbar spine at 24 hours compared with the sham procedure. SPECT/CT imaging of MPO activity showed marked MPO-sensor retention at 6 hours (P = .003) that continued to increase at 24 hours after TAR (P = .0001). The number of motor neurons decreased substantially at 24 hours after TAR (P < .01), which correlated inversely with in vivo inflammatory changes detected at molecular imaging (r = 0.64, P = .0099). MPO was primarily secreted by neutrophils, followed by lymphocyte antigen 6 complexhigh monocytes and/or macrophages. There were corresponding increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines KC (P = .0001) and IL-6 (P = .0001) that mirrored changes in MPO activity. Conclusion: MPO is a suitable imaging biomarker for identifying and tracking inflammatory damage in the spinal cord after TAR in a mouse model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-211
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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