Agonist - Antagonist dilemma in molecular imaging: Evaluation of a monomolecular multimodal imaging agent for the somatostatin receptor

W. Barry Edwards, Baogang Xu, Walter Akers, Philip P. Cheney, Kexian Liang, Buck E. Rogers, Carolyn J. Anderson, Samuel Achilefu

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64 Scopus citations


The combination of different imaging modalities, each providing information according to its strengths, can be a powerful method for diagnosing diseases. We have synthesized a monomolecular multimodal imaging agent (MOMIA), LS172, containing a subtype-2 somatostatin receptor (SSTr2)-avid peptide (Y3-octreotate or Y3-TATE), a radiometal chelating group (DOTA) and a near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent dye (cypate). In addition to optical methods, radiolabeling LS172 with 64Cu and 177Lu provides a strategy for in vitro evaluation or in vivo multimodal imaging by positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), respectively. Determination of the binding affinity of LS172, natCu- and natLu-LS172 in SSTr2-transfected A427 cells (A427-7) showed that they all displayed high binding affinity toward SSTr2 with Ki values of 0.234 nM, 11.5 nM, and 2.15 nM respectively. In contrast to cypate-labeled Y3-TATE (cytate), fluorescence microscopy showed that LS172 and natCu-LS172 accumulate modestly in A427-7 cells by SSTr2-mediated endocytosis, in spite of their relatively high binding affinity. In vivo, the biodistribution of the SSTr2 receptor specific 64Cu- and 177Lu-LS172 in AR42J tumor-bearing rats exhibited low (≤1% ID/g) accumulation in tumor tissue. Clearance from circulation was predominantly hepatobiliary (>90% ID/liver). Both optical and radionuclear biodistribution studies showed a similar in vivo distribution profile. Surprisingly, the strong binding of LS172 to SSTr2 did not translate into high SSTr2-mediated endocytosis in cells or uptake in tumor in vivo. Considering that LS172 is a putative antagonist, the poor accumulation of the labeled MOMIAs in SSTr2 positive tumor tissue supports the paradigm that agonists with their concomitant internalization favors appreciable target tissue accumulation of receptor-specific ligands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-200
Number of pages9
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


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