Novel fluorescence molecular imaging of chemotherapy-induced intestinal apoptosis

Galit Levin, Anat Shirvan, Hagit Grimberg, Ayelet Reshef, Merav Yogev-Falach*, Avi Cohen, Ilan Ziv

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Chemotherapy-induced enteropathy (CIE) is one of the most serious complications of anticancer therapy, and tools for its early detection and monitoring are highly needed. We report on a novel fluorescence method for detection of CIE, based on molecular imaging of the related apoptotic process. The method comprises systemic intravenous administration of the ApoSense fluorescent biomarker (N,N'-didansyl-L-cystine DDC) in vivo and subsequent fluorescence imaging of the intestinal mucosa. In the reported proof-ofconcept studies, mice were treated with either taxol + cyclophosphamide or doxil. DDC was administered in vivo at various time points after drug administration, and tracer uptake by ileum tissue was subsequently evaluated by ex vivo fluorescent microscopy. Chemotherapy caused marked and selective uptake of DDC in ileal epithelial cells, in correlation with other hallmarks of apoptosis (i.e., DNA fragmentation and Annexin-V binding). Induction of DDC uptake occurred early after chemotherapy, and its temporal profile was parallel to that of the apoptotic process, as assessed histologically. DDC may therefore serve as a useful tool for detection of CIE. Future potential integration of this method with fluorescent endoscopic techniques, or development of radio-labeled derivatives of DDC for emission tomography, may advance early diagnosis and monitoring of this severe adverse effect of chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number054019
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • ApoSense
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell death
  • Chemotherapy
  • Gastrointestinal damage
  • Molecular imaging
  • Optical imaging


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