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New Concepts in Molecular Imaging: Non-Invasive MRI Spotting of Proteolysis Using an Overhauser Effect Switch

Abstract : Background: Proteolysis, involved in many processes in living organisms, is tightly regulated in space and time under physiological conditions. However deregulation can occur with local persistent proteolytic activities, e.g. in inflammation, cystic fibrosis, tumors, or pancreatitis. Furthermore, little is known about the role of many proteases, hence there is a need of new imaging methods to visualize specifically normal or disease-related proteolysis in intact bodies. Methodology/Principal Findings: In this paper, a new concept for non invasive proteolysis imaging is proposed. Overhauser-enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (OMRI) at 0.2 Tesla was used to monitor the enzymatic hydrolysis of a nitroxide-labeled protein. In vitro, image intensity switched from 1 to 25 upon proteolysis due to the associated decrease in the motional correlation time of the substrate. The OMRI experimental device used in this study is consistent with protease imaging in mice at 0.2 T without significant heating. Simulations show that this enzymatic-driven OMRI signal switch can be obtained at lower frequencies suitable for larger animals or humans. Conclusions/Significance: The method is highly sensitive and makes possible proteolysis imaging in three dimensions with a good spatial resolution. Any protease could be targeted specifically through the use of taylor-made cleavable macromolecules. At short term OMRI of proteolysis may be applied to basic research as well as to evaluate therapeutic treatments in small animal models of experimental diseases.
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Philippe Mellet, Philippe Massot, Guillaume Madelin, Sylvain R.A. Marque, Etienne Harte, et al.. New Concepts in Molecular Imaging: Non-Invasive MRI Spotting of Proteolysis Using an Overhauser Effect Switch. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2009, 4 (4), pp. 1-9. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0005244⟩. ⟨hal-00626527⟩



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