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The Quarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2021 Sep 03

DOI: 10.23736/S1824-4785.21.03387-2

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

[68Ga]DOTA-TATE PET for the detection of early transplant rejection in a heterotopic allograft heart transplantation model of the rat. A pilot study

Sebastian LEHNER 1, 2 , Andrei TODICA 1, Guido BÖNING 1, Stefan BUCHHOLZ 4, Peter BARTENSTEIN 1, Marcus HACKER 3, Harun ILHAN 1

1 Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Munich, Munich, Germany; 2 Ambulatory Healthcare Center Dr. Neumaier & Colleagues, Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, Radiation Therapy, Regensburg, Germany; 3 Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy, Division of Nuclear Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; 4 Department of Cardiac Surgery, University of Munich, Munich, Germany


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BACKGROUND: The most important cause of heart transplant loss is early acute allograft rejection, caused by the infiltration of lymphocytes, development of edema and myocardial necrosis. It has been propagated that [68Ga]DOTA-TATE PET might be suitable to quantify the presence of SSTR over-expressing lymphocytes. With heterotopic allogenic heart transplant models in the rat readily available, we aimed to investigate, if monitoring and quantification of acute allograft rejection after heterotopic allogenic heart transplantation was feasible by non-invasive serial [68Ga]DOTA-TATE PET.
METHODS: 17 Lewis rats (9 for serial PET imaging, 8 for histological correlation) received allogenic heterotopic heart transplants from 17 Brown-Norway rats. On days 4, 6 and 7 a [68Ga]DOTA-TATE PET scan was performed.
RESULTS: Imaging of acute transplant rejection until 7 days after allogenic heart transplantation in the rat is feasible. Heterotopic allografts showed significantly increased tracer uptake on day 4 until day 7 after transplantation, reflecting the process of histologically detected myocardial lymphocytic infiltration. Both the area of infarction and the amount of necrosis increased over the course of 7 days, with necrosis reaching statistical significance.
CONCLUSIONS: We purport that the detected PET signal is primarily a specific marker of lymphocyte infiltration and only to a lesser extent an unspecific marker of infarction and necrosis. Thus, [68Ga]DOTA-TATE PET might be a suitable tool for serial imaging and quantification of lymphocyte infiltration as a direct mediator of acute allograft rejection at an early stage after heart transplantation.


KEY WORDS: Rat; Allogenic heart transplantation; Acute rejection; PET imaging; [68Ga]DOTA-TATE

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