Evaluation of Colitis and Carcinogenesis using Molecular Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound

This recent article by Bruckner et al., uses commercially available target-ready microbubbles and antibodies to non-invasively assess the severity of intestinal inflammation and development of tumors in a mouse model of colitis.

Article Summary:

  • Current gold standard for accurate diagnosis and follow-up of inflammatory bowl disease consists of endoscopic evaluation and biopsies for histology, which are invasive and uncomfortable.
  • Purpose: To evaluate the feasibility of using molecular contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) for non-invasive detection and characterization of experimental colitis and subsequent development of colitis associated cancer.
  • Acute colitis was induced in C57BL/6 mice with dextran sodium-sulfate (DSS), then assessed using MADCAM-1 targeted microbubbles at day 3, 6, and 9.
  • Colorectal tumors were induced with azoxymethane/DSS, then imaged using VEGF targeted microbubbles at day 42 and 84.
  • Colon wall thickness measurements from B-mode images correlated strongly with histological Dieleman scores.
  • MADCA-1 targeted CEUS was able to differentiate the severity level of intestinal inflammation, whereas VEGF targeted microbubbles showed increased level of contrast signal in tumors compared to adjacent health colon tissue.
  • All ultrasound findings were validated with H&E staining, western blots and immunohistochemistry.


This study demonstrated the feasibility of using molecular CEUS as a non-invasive diagnostic tool for the detection of intestinal inflammation and tumor development. With MADCAM-1 targeted microbubble enabling characterization of the severity of DSS induced inflammation.  


Brückner, M. et al. Detection and characterization of murine colitis and carcinogenesis by molecularly targeted contrast-enhanced ultrasound. World J. Gastroenterol. 23, 2899 (2017).

Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5413785/


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