External imaging of atherosclerosis in rabbits using an 123I-labeled synthetic peptide fragment

R. Hardoff, F. Braegelmann, P. Zanzonico, E. M. Herrold, R. S. Lees, A. M. Lees, R. T. Dean, J. Lister-James, J. S. Borer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The oligopeptide fragment of apolipoprotein B, SP-4, has demonstrated pronounced uptake in the healing edges of balloon-injured rabbit aortic endothelium. To assess 123I-labeled SP-4 for identification of atherosclerotic plaques by gamma camera imaging, 14 Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic (WHHL) and 5 normal rabbits were imaged 5 minutes and 12 and 24 hours after intravenous injection of 123I-SP-4. In addition, two WHHL and two normal rabbits were injected with 125I-SP-4 for autoradiography. Twelve of the 14 WHHL, but none of the normal, rabbits had visually apparent focal radioiodine accumulation in the region of the aorta. Focus-to-lung and focus-to-heart count ratios were 2.4 ± 1.3 and 1.0 ± 0.4, respectively. Five of the visually positive WHHL rabbits were reimaged 4 and 8 weeks later with 123I-NaI and 123I-SP-2 (an apo E peptide), respectively, as negative controls. Perceptible, but faint, aortic localization of 123I- NaI and of 123I-SP-2 was seen in only one animal each. The distributions of atherosclerotic lesions on photographs of the opened WHHL aortas and of film blackening on 125I-SP-4 autoradiograms were identical. In contrast, the two normal rabbit aortas did not exhibit plaques on photographs or film blackening on autoradiograms. Thus, in an animal model closely simulating human atherosclerotic disease, SP-4 localizes specifically in aortic atherosclerotic lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1047
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


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