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F-18-fluorothymidine-PET evaluation of bone marrow transplant in a rat model

Awasthi, Vibhuduttaa; Holter, Jenniferb; Thorp, Kristinb; Anderson, Stacyc; Epstein, Robertb

Nuclear Medicine Communications: February 2010 - Volume 31 - Issue 2 - p 152-158
doi: 10.1097/MNM.0b013e3283339f92

Objective The success of bone marrow transplantation in hematologic and oncologic diseases depends upon the ability to provide adequate hematologic and immunologic support in a timely manner. There is no current imaging tool for the evaluation of the bone marrow compartment in the peri-transplant period. In this study, we tested our hypothesis that whole-body positron emission tomography using fluorine-18 (F-18)-fluorothymidine has the ability to provide information about the functioning normal bone marrow and its physiologic distribution.

Methods Wistar Furth rats were irradiated with 950 cGy followed 2 days later by syngeneic bone marrow transplantation. The animals were subjected to positron emission tomography using F-18-fluorothymidine imaging before and after ablation as well as after 4, 7, and 14 days after bone marrow transplantation. In a different set of syngeneic bone marrow transplant model, positron emission tomography using F-18-fluorodeoxyglucose was carried out for comparison. Imaging results were correlated with marrow histology upon necropsy.

Results F-18-fluorothymidine images showed definitive recovery of marrow within 4 days after transplant. In contrast, F-18-fluorodeoxyglucose was unable to present a corresponding picture. Sternum and humerus marrow in the images were analyzed by drawing three-dimensional regions of interest to obtain quantitative uptake value of tracers, which corroborated the image data.

Conclusion We conclude that positron emission tomography using F-18-fluorothymidine offers a clinically useful noninvasive technique to evaluate bone marrow injury and recovery.

aColleges of Pharmacy


cAllied Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

Correspondence to Dr Vibhudutta Awasthi, PhD, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Director of Small Animal Imaging Facility, College of Pharmacy and Toxicology, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Suite 309, 1110 N. Stonewall Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73117, USA

Tel: +1 405 271 6593; fax: +1 405 271 7505; e-mail:

Received 4 September 2009 Accepted 29 September 2009

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.