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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2007 Aug;34(8):1280-90. Epub 2007 Jan 11.

Early detection and monitoring of cartilage alteration in the experimental meniscectomised guinea pig model of osteoarthritis by 99mTc-NTP 15-5 scintigraphy.

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  • 1INSERM UMR 484, Rue Montalembert, 63005 Clermont-Ferrand CĂ©dex, France.



This study in the meniscectomised guinea pig aimed to demonstrate that the radiotracer (99m)Tc-NTP 15-5 would have pathophysiological validity for in vivo osteoarthritis imaging.


The specificity of (99m)Tc-NTP 15-5 for cartilage was determined in healthy animals (n = 13), by tissue radioactivity counting, joint autoradiography and scintigraphy. (99m)Tc-NTP 15-5 scintigraphy was performed at 20, 50, 80, 115, 130, 150 and 180 days after medial meniscectomy (n = 10 MNX) or sham operation (n = 5), and scintigraphic ratios (operated/contralateral) were calculated for femoral (F) and tibial (T) areas. F and T ratios were compared with those of (99m)Tc-MDP bone scintigraphy. At the study end-point, autoradiographic analysis of joint (99m)Tc-NTP 15-5 distribution and macroscopic scoring of cartilage integrity were performed.


The high and specific accumulation of (99m)Tc-NTP 15-5 in normal cartilage (about 5.5 +/- 1.7 % of injected dose/g of tissue), which permitted joint imaging with high contrast, was affected by osteoarthritis. In the MNX group, (99m)Tc-NTP 15-5 accumulation in cartilage within the operated joint, relative to the contralateral joint, was observed to change in the same animals as pathology progressed. Although F and T ratios were significantly higher in MNX (F = 1.7 +/- 0.2; T = 1.6 +/- 0.1) than in shams (F = 1.0 +/- 0.1; T = 1.0 +/- 0.1) at day 50, they were significantly lower in MNX (F = 0.6 +/- 0.1; T = 0.7 +/- 0.1) than in shams (F = 1.0 +/- 0.1; T = 0.9 +/- 0.1) at day 180. No change in (99m)Tc-MDP uptake was observed over 6 months. Macroscopic analysis confirmed features of osteoarthritis only in MNX knees.


These results in MNX guinea pigs provide additional support for the use of (99m)Tc-NTP 15-5 for in vivo imaging of osteoarthritis.

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