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Gut. 2013 Mar;62(3):395-403. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2011-301913. Epub 2012 Mar 17.

In vivo targeting of colonic dysplasia on fluorescence endoscopy with near-infrared octapeptide.

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Division of Gastroenterology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.



To demonstrate a near-infrared (NIR) peptide that is highly specific for colonic adenomas on fluorescence endoscopy in vivo.


A 3 mm diameter endoscope was adapted to deliver 671 nm illumination and collect NIR fluorescence (696-736 nm). Target (QPIHPNNM) and control (YTTNKH) peptides were labelled with Cy5.5, a NIR dye, and characterised by mass spectra. The peptides were topically administered separately (100 μM) through the endoscope's instrument channel into the distal colon of CPC;Apc mice, genetically engineered to spontaneously develop adenomas. After 5 min for incubation, the unbound peptides were rinsed off, and images were collected at a rate of 10 frames/s. Regions of interest were identified around the adenoma and adjacent normal-appearing mucosa on white light. Intensity measurements were made from these same regions on fluorescence, and the target-to-background ratio (TBR) was calculated.


An image resolution of 9.8 μm and field of view of 3.6 mm was achieved at a distance of 2.5 mm between the distal end of the instrument and the tissue surface. On mass spectra, the experimental mass-to-charge ratio for the Cy5.5-labelled target and control peptides agreed with expected values. The NIR fluorescence images of adenomas revealed individual dysplastic crypts with distorted morphology. By comparison, only amorphous surface features could be visualised from reflected NIR light. The average TBR for adenomas was found to be 3.42 ± 1.30 and 1.88 ± 0.38 for the target and control peptides, respectively, p=0.007.


A NIR peptide was shown to be highly specific for colonic adenomas on fluorescence endoscopy in vivo and to achieve sub-cellular resolution images.

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