Multiagent imaging of inflammation and infection with radionuclides

Palestro, C. J., Glaudemans, A. W. J. M. & Dierckx, R. A. J. O., Dec-2013, In : Clinical and Translational Imaging. 1, 6, p. 385-396 12 p.

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Molecular imaging with single photon- and positron-emitting tracers plays an important role in the evaluation of inflammation and infection. Although supplanted by labeled leukocyte imaging for most indications, gallium-67 remains useful for opportunistic infections, pulmonary inflammation and interstitial nephritis and, when [18F]FDG is not available, spinal infection and fever of unknown origin. In vitro labeled leukocyte imaging is the radionuclide procedure of choice for most infections in immunocompetent patients. When performed for musculoskeletal infection, complementary bone marrow imaging usually is necessary. Recent data suggest that dual time point imaging might be an alternative to marrow imaging. Several methods of labeling leukocytes in vivo, with agents including antigranulocyte antibodies and antibody fragments, peptides and cytokines, have been investigated, with variable results. These agents are not widely available and none of them are available in the USA. Radiolabeled antibiotics have been investigated as "infection-specific" tracers, but the results to date have been disappointing. Conversely, radiolabeled antimicrobial peptides do hold promise as infection-specific tracers. The use of positron-emitting tracers for diagnosing inflammation and infection has generated considerable interest. [18F]FDG is useful in fever of unknown origin, spinal osteomyelitis, vasculitis and sarcoidosis. Other positron-emitting tracers that have been investigated include [18F]FDG-labeled leukocytes, copper-64-labeled leukocytes, gallium-68 citrate and iodine-124 FIAU. Although radiolabeled tracers are used primarily for diagnosis, they also offer objective biomarkers for assessing response to therapeutic interventions in inflammatory diseases. They could also potentially be used to target cells and molecules with specific receptor expression for histological characterization, select patients for receptor-targeted therapy and predict response to treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-396
Number of pages12
JournalClinical and Translational Imaging
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2013


  • Antimicrobial peptides, Biotin, Gallium citrate, Labeled leukocytes, PET

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