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J Autoimmun. 2005 Nov;25(3):199-205. Epub 2005 Oct 24.

In vivo molecular imaging of adhesion molecules in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).

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Clinical Research Group for Multiple Sclerosis, Department of Neurology, Julius Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Strasse 11, Germany.


The infiltration of autoreactive T cells into the central nervous system (CNS) requires a complex molecular interplay between immune cells and the blood-brain barrier (BBB), especially involving adhesion molecules like intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1. Here we study the molecular expression at the BBB during adoptively transferred (AT) myelin basic protein (MBP)-experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in vivo by sensitive particle acoustic quantification (SPAQ)-enhanced ultrasound after intravenous application of specific gas-filled MP (MP) targeted against ICAM-1 (ICAM-MP) as contrast agent. Our results reveal a clear periventricular and cerebellar upregulation of ICAM-1 expression at the disease maximum of AT-EAE. Moreover, SPAQ-enhanced ultrasound enables the sensitive quantification of ICAM-1 expression in vivo. This allows to monitor therapeutic changes as shown by suppression of ICAM-1 expression after pretreatment of rats with corticosteroids (P < 0.008). All imaging results were confirmed by parallel immunohistochemistry. In vivo magnetic resonance imaging and albumin staining of rat brains after sonification did not reveal a disturbance of the BBB, thereby proving the safety of the method. Subsequent application of specific MP did not influence follow-up measurements, a prerequisite for sequential measurements in longitudinal studies. Based on these data, quantitative molecular imaging of adhesion molecules by SPAQ-enhanced ultrasound proves to be a safe and reliable technology to monitor changes at the BBB in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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