Purpose: Dysregulation of sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1PR1) signaling contributes to inflammation-related pathophysiological changes in cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis (AS). S1PR1-targeting compounds significantly reduce lesion size in murine models of AS. Therefore, characterization of S1PR1 expression in vitro and in vivo in atherosclerotic plaque could enable mechanistic studies and inform S1PR1 targeted therapies. Procedures: H&E staining and immunostaining studies were performed on variably diseased human femoral endarterectomy plaque specimens, as well as mouse aortic sections from ApoE−/− mice maintained on a high-fat diet (AS mice). In vitro autoradiography study in human femoral plaques was used to confirm the tracer specificity. Micro positron emission tomography (PET) and ex vivo autoradiography studies were conducted in AS mice and their controls using a S1PR1-specific radioligand [11C]TZ3321 for in vivo and ex vivo quantification of S1PR1 expression in mouse aortic plaques. Results: Increased S1PR1 expression was observed in areas of human femoral endarterectomy plaque specimens with foam cell accumulation compared with control tissue; in vitro autoradiography study indicated that SEW2781, a S1PR1 compound was able to reduce the uptake of [11C]TZ3321 by 56 %. S1PR1 levels were also upregulated in AS mouse aortic plaques. MicroPET data showed the aorta-to-blood tracer uptake ratio in AS mice was approximately 20 % higher than that in controls. Autoradiographic study also revealed elevated tracer accumulation in AS mouse aorta. Conclusions: Upregulated S1PR1 expression in human and mouse atherosclerotic plaques was successfully identified by immunostaining and radioligand-based methods. This data demonstrates that [11C]TZ3321 PET provides great promise in imaging S1PR1 expression in atherosclerotic plaques.
- Sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 1