In vivo molecular imaging characterizes pulmonary gene expression during experimental lung transplantation

Sekhar Dharmarajan, Makio Hayama, James Kozlowski, Takaaki Ishiyama, Mikio Okazaki, Phillip Factor, G. Alexander Patterson, Daniel P. Schuster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Experimental gene therapy is a promising strategy to prevent ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury and allograft rejection after lung transplantation, and methods will eventually be needed to characterize pulmonary transgene expression in vivo in humans. Therefore, we studied positron emission tomography (PET) as a means of performing in vivo molecular imaging in rodent models of lung transplantation. Rats were transfected endotracheally with adenovirus encoding a fusion gene of a mutant Herpes simplex virus-1 thymidine kinase and the green fluorescent protein gene (the former serving as an imaging reporter gene). Twenty-four hours after transfection, lungs were transplanted in groups representing normal transplantation, I/R injury and acute allograft rejection. Imaging was obtained either 24 h after transplantation to study reperfusion injury or 4 days after transplantation to study graft rejection. After imaging, lungs were excised and analyzed for thymidine kinase activity. Imaging detected transgene expression in transplanted lungs even in the presence of acute rejection or I/R injury. The PET imaging signal correlated with in vitro lung tissue assays of thymidine kinase activity (r2 = 0.534). Thus, noninvasive molecular imaging with PET is a feasible, sensitive and quantitative method for characterizing pulmonary transgene expression in experimental lung transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1216-1225
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Gene therapy
  • Lung transplantation
  • Molecular imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'In vivo molecular imaging characterizes pulmonary gene expression during experimental lung transplantation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this