Investigation of four (99m)Tc-labeled bacteriophages for infection-specific imaging

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Bacteria; Bacterial Infections; *Bacteriophages; Disease Models, Animal; Escherichia coli; Host-Pathogen Interactions; Infection; Isotope Labeling; Klebsiella pneumoniae; Male; Mice; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Radionuclide Imaging; Radiopharmaceuticals; Salmonella enterica; Sodium Pertechnetate Tc 99m; Species Specificity; Tissue Distribution


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


INTRODUCTION: This study investigated radiolabeled bacteriophages for specific detection of infection through gamma imaging. Previously, a (99m)Tc-labeled M13 phage demonstrated specific binding for its host Escherichia coli in vitro and in mice through imaging.

METHODS: This study was extended to phages P22, E79, VD-13 and phage 60. Each was radiolabeled with (99m)Tc using the chelator MAG(3), and were evaluated for binding to host and non-host bacteria in vitro and in a mouse infection model.

RESULTS: In vitro, each (99m)Tc-phage bound to its host at least 4-fold higher than to non-host bacteria. For example, (99m)Tc-E79 showed 10- to 20-fold greater binding to host Pseudomonas aeruginosa compared to non-host Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica, and (99m)Tc-phage 60 showed 20-fold greater binding to host Klebsiella pneumoniae over non-hosts. Mice received host or non-host bacteria in one thigh, and 3 h later, the (99m)Tc-phages were administered intravenously. After a further 3 h, the tissues were counted. Liver accumulation was highest for (99m)Tc-E79, averaging 39% compared to an average of 13% for the other (99m)Tc-phages. Animals infected with host bacteria showed infected thigh/normal thigh ratios of 14.2 for (99m)Tc-E79, 2.9 for (99m)Tc-P22, 3.5 for (99m)Tc-VD-13 and 2.1 for (99m)Tc-phage 60.

CONCLUSIONS: Although specific host binding was observed in vitro for each of these four (99m)Tc-phages, only (99m)Tc-E79 showed specificity for its host in an in vivo model.

DOI of Published Version



Nucl Med Biol. 2008 May;35(4):433-40. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nuclear medicine and biology

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