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Front Med. 2017 Mar;11(1):120-128. doi: 10.1007/s11684-017-0501-3. Epub 2017 Mar 2.

Cotransfecting norepinephrine transporter and vesicular monoamine transporter 2 genes for increased retention of metaiodobenzylguanidine labeled with iodine 131 in malignant hepatocarcinoma cells.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, China.
Department of Nuclear Medicine, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, China.


Norepinephrine transporter (NET) transfection leads to significant uptake of iodine-131-labeled metaiodobenzylguanidine (131I-MIBG) in non-neuroendocrine tumors. However, the use of 131I-MIBG is limited by its short retention time in target cells. To prolong the retention of 131I-MIBG in target cells, we infected hepatocarcinoma (HepG2) cells with Lentivirus-encoding human NET and vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) genes to obtain NET-expressing, NET-VMAT2-coexpressing, and negative-control cell lines. We evaluated the uptake and efflux of 131I-MIBG both in vitro and in vivo in mice bearing transfected tumors. NET-expressing and NET-VMAT2-coexpressing cells respectively showed 2.24 and 2.22 times higher 131I-MIBG uptake than controls. Two hours after removal of 131I-MIBG-containing medium, 25.4% efflux was observed in NET-VMAT2-coexpressing cells and 38.6% in NET-expressing cells. In vivo experiments were performed in nude mice bearing transfected tumors; results revealed that NET-VMAT2-coexpressing tumors had longer 131I-MIBG retention time than NET-expressing tumors. Meanwhile, NET-VMAT2-coexpressing and NET-expressing tumors displayed 0.54% and 0.19%, respectively, of the injected dose per gram of tissue 24 h after 131I-MIBG administration. Cotransfection of HepG2 cells with NET and VMAT2 resulted in increased 131I-MIBG uptake and retention. However, the degree of increase was insufficient to be therapeutically effective in target cells.


131I-MIBG; gene therapy; lentivirus vector; norepinephrine transporter; vesicular monoamine transporter 2

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