Optical imaging of experimental arthritis using allogeneic leukocytes labeled with a near-infrared fluorescent probe

  • Gerhard H. SimonEmail author
  • Heike E. Daldrup-Link
  • Juli Kau
  • Stephan Metz
  • Juergen Schlegel
  • Guido Piontek
  • Olaf Saborowski
  • Stavros Demos
  • Justus Duyster
  • Bernd J. Pichler
Original article



The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of inflammation detection in an antigen-induced arthritis model using fluorescent leukocytes and optical imaging.


Antigen-mediated monoarthritis was induced in the right knee of 12 Sprague-Dawley rats. Six rats remained untreated and six rats were treated with cortisone. All rats received ex vivo fluorescent-labeled rat leukocytes. Optical images of both knees were acquired before and at 5 min, 1 h, 4 h, and 24 h after cell injection. Images were evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively by calculating signal intensity ratios between the right arthritic (A) and contralateral normal (N) knee. A/N ratios were tested for significant differences between baseline values and values after cell injection using a paired t test as well as between the untreated and cortisone-treated group using an unpaired t test. Synovial specimens were processed and evaluated for labeled cells with fluorescence microscopy.


At 4 h and 24 h p.i., the A/N ratios of untreated arthritic knees showed a significant signal increase compared with baseline values (p<0.05) and a significant difference compared with A/N ratios of cortisone-treated animals (p<0.05). Fluorescent microscopy confirmed the presence of labeled cells in the arthritic synovium.


Inflammation in antigen-induced arthritis can be detected with ex vivo labeled allogenic leukocytes and optical imaging.


Optical imaging Fluorescence Arthritis In vivo Cell tracking 



This work was supported by a Research and Education Foundation Grant from the Society of Pediatric Radiology and by a seed grant from the Department of Radiology, UCSF.

The authors would like to thank Peter Lange, MD, MRCP (UK) for his critical revision of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard H. Simon
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Heike E. Daldrup-Link
    • 1
  • Juli Kau
    • 1
  • Stephan Metz
    • 2
  • Juergen Schlegel
    • 3
  • Guido Piontek
    • 3
  • Olaf Saborowski
    • 1
  • Stavros Demos
    • 4
  • Justus Duyster
    • 5
  • Bernd J. Pichler
    • 6
  1. 1.The Department of Radiology, S-372UCSF Medical Center, University of California in San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany
  3. 3.Department of PathologyTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany
  4. 4.The Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLivermoreUSA
  5. 5.Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Haematology/OncologyTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany
  6. 6.Department of RadiologyUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany

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