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Circulation. 2004 Jun 1;109(21):2554-9. Epub 2004 May 3.

Scintigraphic imaging of matrix metalloproteinase activity in the arterial wall in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Nuclear Medicine, Hospital of the Westfälische Wilhelms-University, Münster, Germany. schafmi@uni-muenster.de



Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are enzymes involved in the proteolytic degradation of extracellular matrix. They play an important role in several disease processes, such as inflammation, cancer, and atherosclerosis.


In this study, we have used the broad-spectrum MMP inhibitor CGS 27023A to develop the radioligand [123I]I-HO-CGS 27023A for in vivo imaging of MMP activity. Using this radioligand, we were able to specifically image MMP activity by scintigraphy in vivo in the MMP-rich vascular lesions that develop after carotid artery ligation and cholesterol-rich diet in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. These results were confirmed by gamma counting of lesional tissue (counts per minute per milligram).


Imaging of MMP activity in vivo is feasible using radiolabeled MMP inhibitors. Additional studies are needed to test the potential of this approach as a novel noninvasive clinical diagnostic tool for the management of human MMP-related diseases.

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