Research Papers:

Early detection of rheumatoid arthritis in rats and humans with 99mTc-3PRGD2 scintigraphy: imaging synovial neoangiogenesis

Yu Wu _, Guojian Zhang, Xiangcheng Wang, Zhenfang Zhao, Tao Wang, Xuemei Wang and Xiao-Feng Li

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:5753-5760. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.13953

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Yu Wu1,2,*, Guojian Zhang1,*, Xiangcheng Wang1, Zhenfang Zhao1, Tao Wang1, Xuemei Wang1 and Xiao-Feng Li3,4

1 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Inner Mongolia Medical University Affiliated Hospital, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China

2 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Inner Mongolia Medical University Affiliated People’s Hospital, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China

3 PET/CT/MRI Center, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China

4 Department of Radiology, University of Louisville, Louisville KY, USA

* These authors have contributed eqally to this work

Correspondence to:

Xuemei Wang, email:

Xiao-Feng Li, email:

Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis; synovial neoangiogenesis; 99mTc-3PRGD2; 99mTc-MDP; scintigraphy

Received: July 06, 2016 Accepted: December 08, 2016 Published: December 15, 2016


Objectives: To validate 99mTc-labeled arginylglycylaspartic acid (99mTc-3PRGD2) scintigraphy as a means to image synovial neoangiogenesis in joints afflicted by rheumatoid arthritis and to investigate its potential in the early detection and management of rheumatoid arthritis.

Methods: Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis were generated in Sprague Dawley rats by type II collagen immunization and papain injection, respectively. Rats were imaged with 99mTc-3PRGD2 and 99mTc- methyl diphosphonate (99mTc MDP). X-ray images were also obtained and assessed by a radiologist. Immunohistochemistry of αvβ3 and CD31confirmed the onset of synovial neoangiogenesis. The effect of bevacizumab on rheumatoid arthritis was followed with 99mTc-3PRGD2 scintigraphy. A patient with rheumatoid arthritis and a healthy volunteer were scanned with 99mTc-3PRGD2.

Results: Two weeks after immunization, a significant increase in 99mTc-3PRGD2 was observed in the joints of the rheumatoid arthritis model though uptake in osteoarthritis model and untreated controls was low. 99mTc-MDP whole body scans failed to distinguish early rheumatoid arthritis joints from healthy controls. The expression of αvβ3 and CD31was significantly higher in the joints of rheumatoid arthritis rats compared to normal controls. In serial 99mTc-3PRGD2 scintigraphy studies, 99mTc-3PRGD2 uptake increased in parallel with disease progression. Bevacizumab anti-angiogenetic therapy both improved the symptoms of the rheumatoid arthritis rats and significantly decreased 99mTc-3PRGD2 uptake. Significantly higher 99mTc-3PRGD2 accumulation was also observed in rheumatoid arthritis joints in the patient.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that 99mTc-3PRGD2 scintigraphy could detect early rheumatoid arthritis by imaging the associated synovial neoangiogenesis, and may be useful in disease management.

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