Rationale and Objectives Liver inflammation is associated with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and other pathologies, but noninvasive methods to assess liver inflammation are limited. Inflammation causes endothelial disruption and leakage of plasma proteins into the interstitial space and can result in extravascular coagulation with fibrin deposition. Here we assess the feasibility of using the established fibrin-specific magnetic resonance probe EP-2104R for the noninvasive imaging of fibrin as a marker of liver inflammation. Methods Weekly 100 mg/kg diethylnitrosamine (DEN) dosing was used to generate liver fibrosis in male rats; control animals received vehicle. Magnetic resonance imaging at 1.5 T with EP-2104R, a matched non-fibrin-binding control linear peptide, or the collagen-specific probe EP-3533 was performed at 1 day or 7 days after the last DEN administration. Imaging data were compared with quantitative histological measures of fibrosis and inflammation. Results After 4 or 5 DEN administrations, the liver becomes moderately fibrotic, and fibrosis is the same if the animal is killed 1 day (Ishak score, 3.62 ± 0.31) or 7 days (Ishak score, 3.82 ± 0.25) after the last DEN dose, but inflammation is significantly higher at 1 day compared with 7 days after the last DEN dose (histological activity index from 0-4, 3.54 ± 0.14 vs 1.61 ± 0.16, respectively; P < 0.0001). Peak EP-2104R signal enhancement was significantly higher in animals imaged at 1 day post-DEN compared with 7 days post-DEN or control rats (29.0% ± 3.2% vs 22.4% ± 2.0% vs 17.0% ± 0.2%, respectively; P = 0.017). Signal enhancement with EP-2104R was significantly higher than control linear peptide at 1 day post-DEN but not at 7 days post-DEN indicating specific fibrin binding during the inflammatory phase. Collagen molecular magnetic resonance with EP-3533 showed equivalent T1 change when imaging rats 1 day or 7 days post-DEN, consistent with equivalent fibrosis. Conclusions EP-2104R can specifically detect fibrin associated with inflammation in a rat model of liver inflammation and fibrosis.
- molecular imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging