Molecular Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Imaging of Radiation-Induced P-Selectin Expression in Healthy Mice Colon

Ahmed, El Kaffas, Kevin, Smith, Pooja, Pradhan, Steven, Machtaler, Huaijun, Wang, Rie, von Eyben, Jürgen K., Willmann, Dimitre, Hristov

International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics |

Purpose To evaluate the feasibility of using molecular contrast-enhanced ultrasound (mCEUS) to image radiation (XRT)-induced expression of cell adhesion molecules that mediate inflammatory response to XRT in healthy mouse colon tissue. Methods and Materials The colons of male BALB/c mice (aged 6-8 weeks, n=9) were irradiated with 14 Gy using a Kimtron IC-225 x-ray irradiator operating at 225 kV/13.0 mA at a dose rate of 0.985 Gy/min. The head and thorax regions were shielded during irradiation. A second control cohort of mice was left untreated (n=6). Molecular CEUS was carried out before and 24 hours after irradiation using a VEVO2100 system and MS250 21-MHz center frequency transducer. Each imaging session comprised mCEUS imaging with P-selectin targeted microbubbles and control microbubbles targeted with an isotype control IgG. Quantification of mCEUS was carried out by measuring the differential targeted enhancement (dTE) parameter. The perfusion parameters peak enhancement and area under the curve were also extracted from the initial injection bolus. Animals were sacrificed at 24 hours and the colon was resected for immunohistochemistry analysis (P-selectin/CD31-stained vessel). Results For P-selectin targeted microbubble, a significant increase (40 a.u.; P=.013) in dTE (P-dTE) was observed in irradiated mice over 24 hours. In contrast, a nonsignificant change in P-selectin dTE was observed in control mice. For control microbubbles, no significant difference in the IgG dTE parameter was noted in treated and control animals over 24 hours. A nonsignificant increase in the peak enhancement and area under the curve perfusion parameters associated with blood volume was noted in animals treated with radiation. Quantitative histology indicated significantly elevated P-selectin expression per blood vessel (36% in treated; 14% in control). Conclusion Our results confirm the feasibility of using mCEUS for imaging of XRT-induced expression of P-selectin as a potential approach to monitoring healthy tissue inflammatory damage during radiation therapy.