Molecular Imaging and Biology

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 609–614 | Cite as

Imaging Chronic Tuberculous Lesions Using Sodium [18F]Fluoride Positron Emission Tomography in Mice

  • Alvaro A. Ordonez
  • Vincent P. DeMarco
  • Mariah H. Klunk
  • Supriya Pokkali
  • Sanjay K. Jain
Brief Article



Calcification is a hallmark of chronic tuberculosis (TB) in humans, often noted years to decades (after the initial infection) on chest radiography, but not visualized well with traditional positron emission tomography (PET). We hypothesized that sodium [18F]fluoride (Na[18F]F) PET could be used to detect microcalcifications in a chronically Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected murine model.


C3HeB/FeJ mice, which develop necrotic and hypoxic TB lesions, were aerosol-infected with M. tuberculosis and imaged with Na[18F]F PET.


Pulmonary TB lesions from chronically infected mice demonstrated significantly higher Na[18F]F uptake compared with acutely infected or uninfected animals (P < 0.01), while no differences were noted in the blood or bone compartments (P > 0.08). Ex vivo biodistribution studies confirmed the imaging findings, and tissue histology demonstrated microcalcifications in TB lesions from chronically infected mice, which has not been demonstrated previously in a murine model.


Na[18F]F PET can be used for the detection of chronic TB lesions and could prove to be a useful noninvasive biomarker for TB studies.

Key words

Tuberculosis Chronic Na[18F]F Microcalcification PET 



This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Transformative Research Award R01-EB020539 (S.K.J.) and the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award DP2-OD006492 (S.K.J.) as well as R01-HL116316 (S.K.J.). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

None of the authors report any financial or potential conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© World Molecular Imaging Society 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alvaro A. Ordonez
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Vincent P. DeMarco
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mariah H. Klunk
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Supriya Pokkali
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sanjay K. Jain
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Infection and Inflammation Imaging ResearchJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Center for Tuberculosis ResearchJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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