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PLoS One. 2016 Oct 4;11(10):e0164163. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0164163. eCollection 2016.

The Positron Emission Tomography Tracer 3'-Deoxy-3'-[18F]Fluorothymidine ([18F]FLT) Is Not Suitable to Detect Tissue Proliferation Induced by Systemic Yersinia enterocolitica Infection in Mice.

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Werner Siemens Imaging Center, Department of Preclinical Imaging and Radiopharmacy, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
Institute of Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, University Medicine Rostock, Rostock, Germany.
Institute of Pathology, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
Department of Internal Medicine II, University Hospital Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.


Most frequently, gram-negative bacterial infections in humans are caused by Enterobacteriaceae and remain a major challenge in medical diagnostics. We non-invasively imaged moderate and severe systemic Yersinia enterocolitica infections in mice using the positron emission tomography (PET) tracer 3'-deoxy-3'-[18F]fluorothymidine ([18F]FLT), which is a marker of proliferation, and compared the in vivo results to the ex vivo biodistributions, bacterial loads, and histologies of the corresponding organs. Y. enterocolitica infection is detectable with histology using H&E staining and immunohistochemistry for Ki 67. [18F]FLT revealed only background uptake in the spleen, which is the main manifestation site of systemic Y. enterocolitica-infected mice. The uptake was independent of the infection dose. Antibody-based thymidine kinase 1 (Tk-1) staining confirmed the negative [18F]FLT-PET data. Histological alterations of spleen tissue, observed via Ki 67-antibody-based staining, can not be detected by [18F]FLT-PET in this model. Thus, the proliferation marker [18F]FLT is not a suitable tracer for the diagnosis of systemic Y. enterocolitica infection in the C57BL/6 animal model of yersiniosis.

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