Evaluation of 18F-annexin V as a PET imaging agent in an animal model of apoptosis

Kevin J. Yagle, Janet F. Eary, Jonathan F. Tait, John R. Grierson, Jeanne M. Link, Barbara Lewellen, Don F. Gibson, Kenneth A. Krohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


Annexin V is a 36-kDa protein that binds with high affinity to phosphatidylserine lipids in the cell membrane. Because one of the earliest measurable events in apoptosis is the eversion of phosphatidylserine from the inner membrane leaflet to the outer cell surface, annexin V has proven useful for detecting the earliest stages of apoptosis. Methods: Annexin V was radiolabeled with 18F using N-succinimidyl-4-18F- fluorobenzoic acid chemistry, to a specific activity of 555-925 kBq/μg of protein. 18F-Annexin V (14.8-51.8 MBq) was administered intravenously to rats after pretreatment with cycloheximide (5 mg/kg) to induce liver apoptosis, and the injected rats were imaged by PET over 2 h. After imaging, rats were dissected and individual organs were weighed and counted. Results: Pretreatment of rats with cycloheximide resulted in a 3- to 9-fold increase in uptake of 18F-annexin V in the liver of treated animals at 2 h, compared with controls. By morphologic analysis, treated livers showed a 3- to 6-fold higher level of apoptosis than controls, with higher levels also seen with longer exposure to cycloheximide. Terminal deoxynucleotide end-labeling (TUNEL) assays performed on liver slices showed that cycloheximide induced a 5- to 8-fold increase in the number of TUNEL-positive nuclei. These TUNEL results correlated with the uptake of 18F-annexin V in dissected liver tissue, with an r2 value of 0.89. Biodistribution analysis of normal rats showed highest uptake of 18F-annexin V in the kidneys and urinary bladder, indicating rapid renal clearance of 18F-annexin V metabolites. Conclusion: The PET data, the organ-specific uptake data from dissection, and the morphologic and TUNEL measures of apoptosis together indicate that 18F-annexin V binds specifically to apoptotic tissues in this model of chemically induced apoptosis in rat liver. The short physical half-life of 18F-annexin V and the rapid clearance of its metabolites to the urinary system suggest that 18F-annexin V will be useful in early assessment of the clinical response to cancer therapy in individual patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-666
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Annexin
  • Apoptosis
  • Molecular imaging
  • Oncology
  • PET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of 18F-annexin V as a PET imaging agent in an animal model of apoptosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this