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Nuclear imaging of inflammation: homing-associated molecules as targets

Anu Autio1, Sirpa Jalkanen2 and Anne Roivainen13*

Author Affiliations

1 Turku PET Centre, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Kiinamyllynkatu 4-8, Turku, 20521, Finland

2 MediCity Research Laboratory and Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Turku, Turku, 20520, Finland

3 Turku Center for Disease Modeling, University of Turku, Turku, 20520, Finland

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EJNMMI Research 2013, 3:1  doi:10.1186/2191-219X-3-1

Published: 3 January 2013


The golden standard in nuclear medicine imaging of inflammation is the use of autologous radiolabeled leukocytes. Although their diagnostic accuracy is precise, the preparation of the leukocytes is both laborious and potentially hazardous for laboratory personnel. Molecules involved in leukocyte migration (homing-associated molecules) could serve as targets for the development of imaging agents for inflammation. An excellent target would be a molecule that is absent or expressed at low levels in healthy tissues, but is present or upregulated at the sites of inflammation. In this paper, we will review the literature concerning the use of homing-associated molecules as imaging targets. We will especially concentrate on vascular adhesion protein-1 due to the promising results regarding its use as a target for the imaging of inflammation.

Inflammation; In vivo imaging; Positron emission tomography; Vascular adhesion protein-1