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Innovative Strategies in In Vivo Apoptosis Imaging

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Apoptosis (programmed cell death) plays a key role in the pathogenesis of many disorders including cerebral and myocardial ischemia, autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases, infections, organ and bone marrow transplant rejection, and tumor response to chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. Apoptosis in itself represents a complex mechanism where numerous (pro-apoptotic and antiapoptotic) molecules interact in an elaborate manner.

Since the original description by Kerr et al. in 1972, clinical assessment of apoptosis has always required biopsies or aspirated material for in vitro investigations. Several well-established methods are available for in vitro tests using tissue specimens. However, a noninvasive detection of apoptosis would be of great benefit for many patients in various situations. Today, non-invasive techniques for direct in vivo detection of apoptotic cells are rare and urgently need improvement. The early in vivo detection of apoptotic cells can provide the physician with important information to develop further therapeutic strategies in chemotherapy or radiotherapy of tumors, in transplantation of organs, or in healing of infarct areas.

In some preliminary publications, several authors reported on the in vivo use of caspase-inhibitors and annexin V, labeled with indium- 111, technetium-99m, iodine-123, iodine-124 or fluoride-18. In the present paper, we review the current applicability of both techniques for in vivo apoptosis imaging, and discuss the methodical problems.

Keywords: Annexin V; ApoSense; apoptosis; caspases; molecular imaging

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Regensburg, 93042 Regensburg, Germany.

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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