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See detailNeuro-functional correlates of the protective effects of exercise against cocaine sensitization and dopamine D2 receptors density: a [18F]Fallypride microPET study.
Becker, Guillaume ULiege; Lespine, Louis-Ferdinand ULiege; Serrano Navacerrada, Maria Elisa ULiege et al

in Molecular Imaging and Biology (in press)

Preclinical studies suggest that free access to a running wheel can attenuate behavioural effects of addictive drugs such as psychomotor sensitization to cocaine in rodents. This phenomenon has an ... [more ▼]

Preclinical studies suggest that free access to a running wheel can attenuate behavioural effects of addictive drugs such as psychomotor sensitization to cocaine in rodents. This phenomenon has an integral role in the process of drug addiction in craving and relapse (Steketee and Kalivas, 2011). Free wheel-running was recently shown to be efficacious at preventing the initiation or the long-term expression of psychomotor sensitization to cocaine in mice or rats (Diaz et al., 2013; Geuzaine and Tirelli, 2014). In the present study, we investigated the neuro-functional correlates of the protection against psychomotor sensitization to cocaine afforded by free wheel-running on dopaminergic neurotransmission, using microPET imaging with [18F]Fallypride, a Dopamine 2 receptor (D2R) antagonist. Sixty-four 28-day-old female C57BL/6J mice were randomly assigned to one of the two housing conditions, defined by the presence or the absence of a running wheel in the cage over a 6-week pre-testing period. Since mice from the two types of housing received either saline (controls) or cocaine (8 mg/kg, i.p.) during testing (9 once-daily sessions to establish sensitization plus 1 single session to test its expression), a basic 2x2 randomized blocks design was generated (2-way ANOVA and planned comparisons; n=10). Experimentation lasted 85 days, with a 42-day period of pre-testing and a 3-week interval preceding the test for long-term expression of sensitization (LTES). All mice underwent a microPET (Focus 120, Siemens) the day after the LTES. The microPET protocol consisted of a 60 min. dynamic acquisition after the injection of 10 MBq of [18F]Fallypride in the tail vein. Wheel-running strongly and significantly attenuated LTES (interaction) to cocaine (Cohen’s d=1.63; t(21)=3.75, p<.001) and cocaine-treated mice exhibited a clear-cut and significant increase (main effect) of the [18F]Fallypride BP (d=0.88, t(31)=2.45, p =.02). Wheel-running induced an overall moderate-sized decrease (main effect) of the [18F]Fallypride BP, but without achieving statistical significance (d=0.64, t(31)=1.79, p =.08). These findings suggest that LTES is associated with an increase of the [18F]Fallypride BP in the mouse striatum, probably reflecting an increase in postsynaptic D2R density in this region. Also, the protecting effect of free running on psychomotor sensitization goes together with a decrease in D2R density in the striatum of exercised mice. We intend to complement the present study with an identical experiment to reach a total number of 80 mice (n=20). This will confer to our study a sufficient power (80%) for the main effect of wheel-running exercise on [18F]Fallypride BP to be detected at an alpha-level of 5%. Finally, autoradiography studies, performed on the same mice with [18F]Fallypride, will strengthen our in vivo results. [less ▲]

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See detailQuantification of [18F]UCB-H Binding in the Rat Brain: From Kinetic Modelling to Standardised Uptake Value
Serrano Navacerrada, Maria Elisa ULiege; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege; Becker, Guillaume ULiege et al

in Molecular Imaging and Biology (2018)

Purpose: [18F]UCB-H is a specific positron emission tomography (PET) biomarker for the Synaptic Vesicle protein 2A (SV2A), the binding site of the antiepileptic drug levetiracetam. With a view to ... [more ▼]

Purpose: [18F]UCB-H is a specific positron emission tomography (PET) biomarker for the Synaptic Vesicle protein 2A (SV2A), the binding site of the antiepileptic drug levetiracetam. With a view to optimising acquisition time and simplifying data analysis with this radiotracer, we compared two parameters: the distribution volume (Vt) obtained from Logan graphical analysis using a Population-Based Input Function, and the Standardised Uptake Value (SUV). Procedures: Twelve Sprague Dawley male rats, pre-treated with three different doses of levetiracetam were employed to develop the methodology. Three additional kainic acid (KA) treated rats (temporal lobe epilepsy model) were also used to test the procedure. Image analyses focused on: (i) length of the dynamic acquisition (90 versus 60 min); (ii) correlations between Vt and SUV over 20-min consecutive time-frames; (iii) and (iv) evaluation of differences between groups using the Vt and the SUV; and (v) preliminary evaluation of the methodology in the KA epilepsy model. Results: A large correlation between the Vt issued from 60 to 90-min acquisitions was observed. Further analyses highlighted a large correlation (r 9 0.8) between the Vt and the SUV. Equivalent differences between groups were detected for both parameters, especially in the 20–40 and 40– 60-min time-frames. The same results were also obtained with the epilepsy model. Conclusions: Our results enable the acquisition setting to be changed from a 90-min dynamic to a 20-min static PET acquisition. According to a better image quality, the 20–40-min time-frame appears optimal. Due to its equivalence to the Vt, the SUV parameter can be considered in order to quantify [18F]UCB-H uptake in the rat brain. This work, therefore, establishes a starting point for the simplification of SV2A in vivo quantification with [18F]UCB-H, and represents a step forward to the clinical application of this PET radiotracer. [less ▲]

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See detailSound production and sonic apparatus in deep-living cusk-eels (Genypterus chilensis and Genypterus maculatus)
Parmentier, Eric ULiege; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege; Plenevaux, Alain ULiege et al

in Deep-Sea Research. Part I, Oceanographic Research Papers (2018)

Cusk-eels (Ophidiidae) are known sound producers, but many species live in deep water where sounds are difficult to record. For these species sonic ability has been inferred from inner anatomy. Genypterus ... [more ▼]

Cusk-eels (Ophidiidae) are known sound producers, but many species live in deep water where sounds are difficult to record. For these species sonic ability has been inferred from inner anatomy. Genypterus (subfamily Ophidiinae) are demersal fishes inhabiting the continental shelf and slope at depths between 50 and 800 m. Males and females G. maculatus have been maintained together in a tank and 9 unsexed specimens of G. chilensis in a second tank, providing a valuable opportunity to record the sounds of living species usually found at great depths. Genypterus chilensis and G. maculatus respectively produced one and two sound types mainly between 7 and 10 pm. Sound 1 in Genypterus maculatus consists of trains of pulses that vary in amplitude and pulse period; call 2 sounded like a growl that results from the rapid emission of pulses that define sound 1. Genypterus chilensis produced a growl having an unusual feature since the first peak of the second pulse has always greater amplitude than all other peaks. These sounds are probably related to courtship behavior since floating eggs are found after night calls. The anatomical structures of the sound-producing organ in both species present an important panel of highly derived characters including three pairs of sonic muscles, a neural arch that pivots on the first vertebral body and a thick swimbladder with unusual features. Sonic structures are similar between species and between sexes. Therefore both biological sexes are capable of sound production although precedent from shallow ophidiids and sonic fishes in general suggests that males are more likely to produce courtship calls. This study reports two main types of information. It demonstrates that two deep-living species are capable of sound production, which is a pioneer step in the acoustic study of deep-sea fauna. Recorded sounds should also help to locate fish in open sea. As these species are currently used to diversify the aquaculture industry in Chile, deeper studies on their acoustic behavior should also help to target spawning period and to identify mature specimens. [less ▲]

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See detailThe severe deficiency of the somatotrope GHRH/GH/IGF1 axis of Ghrh-/- mice is associated with an important splenic atrophy and relative B lymphopenia
Bodart, Gwennaëlle ULiege; Farhat, Khalil ULiege; RENARD, Jeanne de Chantal ULiege et al

in Frontiers in Endocrinology (2018), 9(Art. 296),

A debate is still open about the precise control exerted by the somatotrope GH-releasing hormone (GHRH)/growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor 1 axis on the immune system. The objective of this ... [more ▼]

A debate is still open about the precise control exerted by the somatotrope GH-releasing hormone (GHRH)/growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor 1 axis on the immune system. The objective of this study was to directly address this question through the use of Ghrh−/− mice that exhibit a severe deficiency of their somatotrope axis. After control backcross studies and normalization for the reduced global weight of transgenic mice, no difference in weight and cellularity of the thymus was observed in Ghrh−/− mice when compared with C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) control mice. Similarly, no significant change was observed in frequency and number of thymic T cell subsets. In the periphery, Ghrh−/− mice exhibited an increase in T cell proportion associated with a higher frequency of sjTREC and naïve T cells. However, all Ghrh−/− mice displayed an absolute and relative splenic atrophy, in parallel with a decrease in B cell percentage. GH supplementation of transgenic mice for 6 weeks induced a significant increase in their global as well as absolute and relative splenic weight. Interestingly, the classical thymus involution following dexamethasone administration was shown to recover in WT mice more quickly than in mutant mice. Altogether, these data show that the severe somatotrope deficiency of Ghrh−/− mice essentially impacts the spleen and B compart- ment of the adaptive immune system, while it only marginally affects thymic function and T cell development. [less ▲]

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See detail[18F]UCB-H BINDING QUANTIFICATION IN RAT BRAIN: FROM MODELLING TO SUV
Serrano Navacerrada, Maria Elisa ULiege; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege; Becker, Guillaume ULiege et al

Poster (2018, March 22)

Introduction Image quantification in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is usually achieved through the invasive and sometimes infeasible arterial blood sampling [1, 2]. Alternative methods have been ... [more ▼]

Introduction Image quantification in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is usually achieved through the invasive and sometimes infeasible arterial blood sampling [1, 2]. Alternative methods have been proposed, but a validation of their results is necessary [3, 4]. In the scope of improving the use of [18F]UCB-H, a specific biomarker for the Synaptic Vesicle protein 2A (SV2A) [5, 6, 7, 8], we have compared the distribution volume (VT) obtained through full kinetic modelling using a Population Based Input Function (PBIF) [9], and the Standardized Uptake Value (SUV). Methods Twelve Sprague Dawley male rats were pre-treated with vehicle (saline), 1 or 10 mg/kg of SV2A ligand (Keppra®, IP). Thirty minutes later, [18F]UCB-H was injected (IV) and a 90 min microPET dynamic acquisition was started followed by a T2 structural MRI. Primary image analysis was focused in examining tracer measurement stability through 10 min time windows. Subsequently, we calculated the correlation between VT (90 minutes) and SUV values over consecutive 20-minute time frames searching for the optimal frame to perform a static acquisition [10]. Finally, we did a supplementary test-retest static acquisition, from 60 to 80 minutes, in order to test group differences in SUV. Results/Discussion Evaluation of ten minutes time windows showed more stability in VT than in SUV measures, for all the groups. This change in signal seems to decrease in late time frames. We found also a strong correlation (R2>0.6) between dynamic VT and twenty minutes frame SUV, especially between 20 min and 60 min. From this, we can infer that an optimal frame to perform a static acquisition with [18F]UCB-H would be between 50 and 80 minutes. Using a static acquisition from 60 to 80 minutes, the SUV highlighted statistically significant differences between the group injected with vehicle and the other groups (p<0.01), but not between groups pre-treated with 1mg/kg and 10mg/kg of Keppra®. Conclusions Our work shows that a strong correlation between the SUV and the VT parameter based on a PBIF does exist. This opens the way to a possible simplification for SV2A in vivo imaging with [18F]UCB-H. Despite the fact that SUV is affected by many factors [11] and that it can overestimate results relative to VT [10], it is able to detect important differences in SV2A expression. Based on these results, SUV could become an interesting and easy to obtain parameter to study group differences in the context of several diseases. References 1. Acton PD et al. Radiologic Clinics of North America. 2004; 42(6):1055. 2. Kinahan PE & Fletcher JW. Seminars in Ultrasound, CT and MRI 2010; 31(6): 496. 3. Heurling K et al. Brain Res. 2017; 1670:220. 4. Tomasi G et al. Molecular Imaging and Biology. 2012; 14(2):131. 5. Bretin F et al. EJNMMI res. 2013; 3(1):35. 6. Warnock GI et al. J Nucl Med. 2014; 55(8):1336. 7. Bretin F et al. Molecular Imaging and Biology. 2015; 17(4):557. 8. Salmon E et al. Alzheimer's & Dementia. 2017; 13(7):781. 9. Becker G et al. Molecular Pharmaceutics. 2017; 14(8):2719. 10. Lockhart SN et al. PLoS One. 2016; 11(6):e0158460. 11. Boellaard R. J Nucl Med. 2009; 50(Suppl 1):11S-20S. Acknowledgement This work was funded by University of Liège, F.R.S.-FNRS, Walloon Region and UCB Pharma. Alain Plenevaux is research director from F.R.S.-FNRS. [less ▲]

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See detailSexual dimorphism in the sonic system and otolith morphology of Neobythites gilli (Ophidiiformes)
Parmentier, Eric ULiege; Boistel, Renaud; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege et al

in Journal of Zoology (2018), 305

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See detailTHE SV2A PROTEIN: IMAGING SYNAPTIC DENSITY DURING THE PROGRESSION OF THE TEMPORAL LOBE EPILEPSY IN THE KASE RAT MODEL
Serrano Navacerrada, Maria Elisa ULiege; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege; Becker, Guillaume ULiege et al

Poster (2018)

Introduction The temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common epileptic disorder. New antiepileptic drugs target the Synaptic Vesicle protein 2A (SV2A) (1). Nevertheless, the prevailing literature ... [more ▼]

Introduction The temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common epileptic disorder. New antiepileptic drugs target the Synaptic Vesicle protein 2A (SV2A) (1). Nevertheless, the prevailing literature addressing the relation between this protein and the epilepsy is limited (2, 3). This study provides insights on the role of the SV2A protein during the four stages of TLE (4, 5), throughout its in vivo study with the [18F]UCB-H radiotracer (6). Methods Twenty-four male Sprague-Dawley were subjected to multiple injections (7) of i) Saline (Sham), or ii) 5mg/kg of Kainic Acid (KA). The rats not reacting to KA (NKA) were also scanned. In each TLE stages, a [18F]UCB-H dynamic scan was performed, followed by a T2-structural MRI. EEG recordings were performed to determine the number of crises. Data processing was done with PMOD 3.6. Results were expressed as SUV and statistically analyzed with the SPSS and the SPM. Results During the acute phase, statistically significant differences were found between Sham and KA in striatum, cerebellum, and medulla. In the latent phase, these SUV differences were detected between the NKA and KA in the same regions along with hippocampus and thalamus. When the spontaneous crises started, these group differences became statistically significant in all the regions but the cortex. During the chronic phase, all the regions showed statistically significant differences between groups. Furthermore, the voxel-wise analysis highlighted statistically significant differences in voxels at the level of amygdala and hippocampus. Conclusions These results show that [18F]UCB-H is able to detect early modifications in SV2A expression (3 days after the TLE model creation), in particular in regions implicated in the epileptic process. This radiotracer can potentially be used as a suitable biomarker for the early detection of the epileptic disease, being able to distinguish between stages in this neurodegenerative disease. [less ▲]

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See detailEPILEPSY AND THE SV2A PROTEIN: new insights about the disease
Serrano Navacerrada, Maria Elisa ULiege; Raedt, Robrecht; Becker, Guillaume ULiege et al

Conference (2018)

Around two million of people worldwide are affected by neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer, Parkinson or Epilepsy. Despite the social and the economic impact of these diseases, their causes ... [more ▼]

Around two million of people worldwide are affected by neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer, Parkinson or Epilepsy. Despite the social and the economic impact of these diseases, their causes still remain unclear. In the case of the epilepsy, for example, around 25% of the patients suffer drug-resistant epilepsy, for which there is no medicament able to mitigate the epileptic crises or the associated symptomatology, such as cognitive problems and mood disorders. In 1974, UCB Pharma synthetized a new antiepileptic drug with a high therapeutic index: the Levetiracetam. The target of this medicament is the Synaptic Vesicle Protein 2A (SV2A) whose specific role in the pathology is still unknown. The main goal of my thesis is to better understand the relationship between this protein and the epilepsy. On the one hand, the production and phenotyping of conditional knockout mice for the SV2A protein allowed us to discover a possible implication of this protein in the spatial memory and anxiety process, an important part of the epileptic symptomatology. On the other hand, the synthesis of the radiotracer [18F]UCB-H, with a high affinity for the SV2A protein, enabled the in vivo evaluation (with the mPET technique) of a rat model of the temporal lobe epilepsy through the disease process. Results showed a strong correlation between the severity of the epilepsy (EEG technique) and the SV2A levels in different brain regions, highlighting the importance of this protein in the development of the disease. In summary, although further studies in humans are necessary, this protein emerges as an important key in clinical diagnosis and medical research, being implicated in all the aspects of the epileptic disease. [less ▲]

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See detailDecrease in SV2A expression in the hippocampus involves changes in cognition and anxiety-like features
Serrano Navacerrada, Maria Elisa ULiege; Bartholomé, Odile ULiege; Van Den Ackerveken, Priscilla ULiege et al

Poster (2018)

The Synaptic Vesicle Protein 2A (SV2A) is a transmembrane protein whose link with the epilepsy has been reported in multiples articles. However, the behavioral consequences of the decrease in its ... [more ▼]

The Synaptic Vesicle Protein 2A (SV2A) is a transmembrane protein whose link with the epilepsy has been reported in multiples articles. However, the behavioral consequences of the decrease in its expression remain still unclear. The purpose of our research is to better understand the role of this protein through the evaluation of cKO (Grik4 +/-, SV2A lox/lox) mice of both sexes, which present a specific decrease in the hippocampus. After a first evaluation of the SV2A levels in the hippocampus with the in vitro [18F]UCB-H autoradiography, differences in brain metabolism were assessed with [18F]FDG in mPET and ex vivo autoradiography. Finally, the phenotype of cKO mice was analyzed with a behavioral test battery. Our results showed a strong reduction of SV2A expression in the whole hippocampus of cKO mice, with regard to the WT mice, not accompanied by statistically significant differences in brain metabolism between groups, either in vivo or ex vivo. No statistically significant differences were found in spontaneous locomotor activity or fear-linked memory. However, cKO males showed significant more anxiety than WT (less percent of entries in open arms) and females presented spatial memory deficits measured in the Barnes Maze (less time spend in quadrant during the test). These results could explain the comorbidity between anxiety, memory impairment and epilepsy present both in animal models and in humans, suggesting an important role of SV2A in the symptomatology of other neurodegenerative diseases, such as the Alzheimer disease, or in anxiety-related pathologies. [less ▲]

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See detailSv2a protein levels in the kainic acid epilepsy rat model during the acute phase
Serrano Navacerrada, Maria Elisa ULiege; Becker, Guillaume ULiege; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege et al

in Epilepsia (2017, December), 58(Supplement S5), 1225

Introduction The Kaïnic Acid model (KA) is one of the most validated models of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) (Lévesque et al.,2016). Its administration induces status epilepticus (SE), characterized by an ... [more ▼]

Introduction The Kaïnic Acid model (KA) is one of the most validated models of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) (Lévesque et al.,2016). Its administration induces status epilepticus (SE), characterized by an extensive neuronal damage in limbic structures (Sperk et al.,1983). Post-mortem studies, such as the epilepsy model presented in (Wang et al., 2014), show a reduction of SV2A protein levels during the chronic phase, however, no data have been reported during the acute phase (0-48h after KA injection).. The present pilot study is undertaken to evaluate in vivo, with the specific radiotracer [18F]UCB-H (Bretin et al., 2015; Warnock et al., 2014), the SV2A expression 24h after a SE produced by KA administration. Methods Two Sprague-Dawley rats were scanned at two different times: baseline, and 24h after three systemic injections of 5mg/kg KA. The scanning process consisted of a first scan with microPET (Focus 120), during 1 hour, using [18F]UCB-H (41 ± 5 MBq IV tail vein). This is followed by MRI (9.4T Agilent, anatomical T2). A coregistration was performed with PMOD 3.6 software. Data were expressed as SUV and AUC were calculated for the different brain regions. Results [18F]UCB-H microPET images exhibited a small reduction (around 10%) in SV2A brain levels after KA injections compared to the baseline, marked in thalamus, hippocampus and amygdale. MRI images obtained 24h after KA injections are in accordance with previous histological studies, revealing inflammatory edema, tissue necrosis and increased ventricle volume (Sperk et al.,1983). Conclusions These preliminary results obtained in KA treated rats show that [18F]UCB-H is able to detect alterations in SV2A levels in relevant regions for epilepsy. This radiotracer emerges as a valuable tool to follow in vivo SV2A through longitudinal studies. KA model in rats deserves as a tool for the study of epilepsy, exhibiting the same features than the human disease. References [1] Lévesque et al., J Neurosci Methods, 2016 [2] Sperk et al., Neuroscience, 1983 [3] Wang et al., J Mol Neurosci., 2014 [4] Bretin et al., Molecular Imaging and Biology, 2015 [5] Warnock et al., J Nucl Med., 2014 [5] Van Nieuwenhuyse et al., Brain Research, 2015 [6] Hellier et al., Epilepsy Res., 1998 [less ▲]

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See detailMeasuring brain synaptic vesicle protein 2A with positron emission tomography and [18F]UCB-H.
Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege; Plenevaux, Alain ULiege; Aerts, Joël ULiege et al

in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions (2017), 4(4), 481-486

Introduction: Brain distribution of synaptic vesicle protein 2Awas measured with fluorine-18 UCBH ([18F]UCB-H) and positron emission tomography (PET). Methods: Images of synaptic density were acquired in ... [more ▼]

Introduction: Brain distribution of synaptic vesicle protein 2Awas measured with fluorine-18 UCBH ([18F]UCB-H) and positron emission tomography (PET). Methods: Images of synaptic density were acquired in healthy volunteers (two young participants and two seniors). Input function was measured by arterial blood sampling (arterial input function) and derived from PET images using carotid activity (image-derived input function). Logan graphical analysis was used to estimate regional synaptic vesicle protein 2A distribution volume. Results: [18F]UCB-H uptake was ubiquitous in cortical and subcortical gray matter. Arterial input function and image-derived input function provided regional distribution volume with a high linear relationship. Discussion: The cerebral distribution of [18F]UCB-H is similar to that recently observed with carbon-11 UCB-J ([11C]UCB-J). An accurate [18F]UCB-H quantification can be performed without invasive arterial blood sampling when no suitable reference region is available, using dynamic PET carotid activity. Brain synaptic density can be studied in vivo in normal and pathological aging. [less ▲]

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See detailNanofitin as a New Molecular-Imaging Agent for the Diagnosis of 2 Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Over-Expressing Tumors.
Goux, Marine; Becker, Guillaume ULiege; Gorré, Harmony et al

in Bioconjugate Chemistry (2017), 28(9), 2361-2371

Epidermal growth-factor receptor (EGFR) is involved in cell growth and proliferation and is over-expressed in malignant tissues. Although anti-EGFR-based immunotherapy became a standard of care for ... [more ▼]

Epidermal growth-factor receptor (EGFR) is involved in cell growth and proliferation and is over-expressed in malignant tissues. Although anti-EGFR-based immunotherapy became a standard of care for patients with EGFR-positive tumors, this strategy of addressing cancer tumors by targeting EGFR with monoclonal antibodies is less-developed for patient diagnostic and monitoring. Indeed, antibodies exhibit a slow blood clearance, which is detrimental for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. New molecular probes are proposed to overcome such limitations for patient monitoring, making use of low-molecular-weight protein scaffolds as alternatives to antibodies, such as Nanofitins with better pharmacokinetic profiles. Anti-EGFR Nanofitin B10 was reformatted by genetic engineering to exhibit a unique cysteine moiety at its C-terminus, which allows the development of a fast and site-specific radiolabeling procedure with 18F−4-fluorobenzamido-N-ethylamino-maleimide (18F−FBEM). The in vivo tumor targeting and imaging profile of the anti-EGFR Cys−B10 Nanofitin was investigated in a double-tumor xenograft model by static small-animal PET at 2 h after tail-vein injection of the radiolabeled Nanofitin 18F−FBEM−Cys−B10. The image showed that the EGFR- positive tumor (A431) is clearly delineated in comparison to the EGFR-negative tumor (H520) with a significant tumor-to-background contrast. 18F−FBEM−Cys−B10 demonstrated a significantly higher retention in A431 tumors than in H520 tumors at 2.5 h post-injection with a A431-to-H520 uptake ratio of 2.53 ± 0.18 and a tumor-to-blood ratio of 4.55 ± 0.63. This study provides the first report of Nanofitin scaffold used as a targeted PET radiotracer for in vivo imaging of EGFR-positive tumor, with the anti-EGFR B10 Nanofitin used as proof-of-concept. The fast generation of specific Nanofitins via a fully in vitro selection process, together with the excellent imaging features of the Nanofitin scaffold, could facilitate the development of valuable PET-based companion diagnostics. [less ▲]

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See detailRegiospecific radiolabelling of Nanofitin on Ni Magnetic Beads with [18F]FBEM and in vivo PET studies
Dammicco, Sylvestre ULiege; Goux, Marine; Lemaire, Christian ULiege et al

in Nuclear Medicine and Biology (2017)

Introduction: Nanofitins are low molecular weight, single chain and cysteine-free protein scaffolds able to selectively bind a defined biological target. They derive from Sac7d bacterial protein family ... [more ▼]

Introduction: Nanofitins are low molecular weight, single chain and cysteine-free protein scaffolds able to selectively bind a defined biological target. They derive from Sac7d bacterial protein family and are highly stable over a wide range of pH (0-13) and temperature (Tm ~80°C). Their extreme stability, low cost of production and high tolerability for chemical coupling make Nanofitins a very interesting alternative to antibodies and their fragments. Here, a hexahistidine tagged model Nanofitin (H4) directed against hen egg white lysozyme was radiolabelled and injected in mice to provide a baseline biodistribution and pharmacokinetic profiles to support future Nanofitin development programs. Method: A single cysteine residue has been genetically inserted in a model Nanofitin and its regioselective radiolabelling has been performed with 4-[18F]fluorobenzamido-N-ethylamino-maleimide ([18F]FBEM). The synthesis of [18F]FBEM has been completely implemented on a radiosynthesis unit (FastLab) including HPLC purification and formulation. Coupling with the [18F]FBEM has been achieved on a solid support (Ni magnetic beads) allowing rapid purification at room temperature without organic solvent. PET-MRI studies on C57BL/6 mice were conducted after injection of [18F]FBEM-Cys-H4 in order to access the biodistribution of this Nanofitin model. Results: Radiochemical yield (decay corrected) of 54±7% (n=4) was obtained after optimization for coupling the [18F]FBEM to Nanofitin. Pharmacokinetics results of [18F]FBEM-Cys-H4 revealed a fast clearance through the liver and the kidneys. Conclusion: An efficient new method on Ni magnetic beads was developed to radiolabelled his-tagged biomolecules with [18F]FBEM. This procedure was applied on a Nanofitin model Cys-H4 and biodistribution kinetic studies were achieved to evaluate the potential use of Nanofitin for diagnostic imaging. Fast clearance indicates that Nanofitins represent very interesting tools for diagnostic imaging. [less ▲]

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See detailDesign and Synthesis of [18F]BPAM121, a PET-Probe Targeting AMPA-subtype Glutamatergic Receptors.
Manos-Turvey, Alexandra ULiege; Lemaire, Christian ULiege; Becker, Guillaume ULiege et al

Poster (2017, August)

AMPA receptors (AMPARs), one of three sub-groups of ionotropic glutamate receptors present in the central nervous system, are recognised for their involvement in long-term potentiation (LTP), and learning ... [more ▼]

AMPA receptors (AMPARs), one of three sub-groups of ionotropic glutamate receptors present in the central nervous system, are recognised for their involvement in long-term potentiation (LTP), and learning and memory processes. [1] They represent a valid cognitive enhancer target, particularly in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease (AD). [2,3] Benzothiadiazine 1,1-dioxides, such as BPAM121, have emerged as important allosteric modulators of AMPARs, working solely in the presence of the endogenous transmitter. [4] Synthesis of BPAM121 labelled with fluorine-18 was proposed, to investigate the utility of this molecule as a PET probe in vivo, and evaluate its potential as an AD diagnostic tool (Figure 1). [Figure 1. a) Structure of BPAM121, b) Established radiochemical synthesis of [18F]BPAM121.] This work documents the successful optimization of synthesis, purification and formulation of [18F]BPAM121 using an automated FASTlab (GE Healthcare) synthesizer. In particular, the influence of higher-level [18F]fluoride ion starting concentrations on final product formulation requirements is discussed. Initial results revealed [18F]BPAM121 successfully passes the blood brain barrier, and further biological studies are currently underway. References [1] S. F. Traynelis et al. Pharmacol. Rev. 2010, 62, 405-496. 
 [2] J. Keifer, Z. Zheng, Eur. J. Neurosci. 2010, 32, 269-277. 
 [3] L. Gao et al. J. Neurochem. 2016, 136, 620-636. 
 [4] P. Francotte et al. J. Med. Chem. 2010, 53, 1700-1711. 
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See detailPharmacokinetic characterization of [18F]UCB-H PET radiopharmaceutical in the rat brain.
Becker, Guillaume ULiege; Warnier, Corentin; Serrano Navacerrada, Maria Elisa ULiege et al

in Molecular Pharmaceutics (2017), 14(8), 2719-2725

The synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A), a protein essential to the proper nervous system function, is found in presynaptic vesicles. Thus, SV2A targeting, using dedicated radiotracers combined with ... [more ▼]

The synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A), a protein essential to the proper nervous system function, is found in presynaptic vesicles. Thus, SV2A targeting, using dedicated radiotracers combined with positron emission tomography (PET), allows the assessment of synaptic density in the living brain. The first-in-class fluorinated SV2A specific radioligand, [18F]UCB-H, is now available at high-activity through an efficient radiosynthesis compliant with the current good manufacturing practices (cGMP). We report here a non-invasive method to quantify [18F]UCB-H binding in rat brain with microPET. Validation study in rats confirmed the need of high enantiomeric purity to target SV2A in vivo. We demonstrated the reliability of a population-based input function to quantify SV2A in preclinical microPET setting. Finally, we investigated the in vivo metabolism of [18F]UCB-H and confirmed the negligible amount of radiometabolites in the rat brain. Hence, the in vivo quantification of SV2A using [18F]UCB-H microPET seems a promising tool for the assessment of the synaptic density in the rat brain, and opens the way for longitudinal follow-up in neurodegenerative diseases rodents’ models. [less ▲]

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See detailComparative assessment of 6-[18F]fluoro-L-m-tyrosine and 6-[18F]fluoro-L-dopa to evaluate dopaminergic presynaptic integrity in a Parkinson’s disease rat model.
Becker, Guillaume ULiege; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege; Michel, Anne et al

in Journal of Neurochemistry (2017), 141

Because of the progressive loss of nigro-striatal dopaminergic terminals in Parkinson’s disease (PD), in vivo quantitative imaging of dopamine (DA) containing neurons in animal models of PD is of critical ... [more ▼]

Because of the progressive loss of nigro-striatal dopaminergic terminals in Parkinson’s disease (PD), in vivo quantitative imaging of dopamine (DA) containing neurons in animal models of PD is of critical importance in the pre-clinical evaluation of highly awaited disease-modifying therapies. Among existing methods, the high sensitivity of positron emission tomography (PET) is attractive to achieve that goal. The aim of this study was to perform a quantitative comparison of brain images obtained in 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesioned rats using two dopaminergic PET radiotracers, namely [18F]fluoro-3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-L-alanine ([18F]FDOPA) and 6-[18F]fluoro-L-m-tyrosine ([18F]FMT). Because the imaging signal is theoretically less contaminated by metabolites, we hypothesized that the latter would show stronger relationship with behavioural and post-mortem measures of striatal dopaminergic deficiency. We used a within-subject design to measure striatal [18F]FMT and [18F]FDOPA uptake in eight partially lesioned, eight fully lesioned and ten sham-treated rats. Animals were pretreated with an L-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) inhibitor. A catechol-O-methyl transferase inhibitor was also given before [18F]FDOPA PET. Quantitative estimates of striatal uptake were computed using conventional graphical Patlak method. Striatal dopaminergic deficiencies were measured with apomorphine-induced rotations and post-mortem striatal DA content. We observed a strong relationship between [18F]FMT and [18F]FDOPA estimates of decreased uptake in the denervated striatum using the tissue-derived uptake rate constant Kc. However, only [18F]FMT Kc succeeded to discriminate between the partial and the full 6-OHDA lesion and correlated well with the post-mortem striatal DA content. This study indicates that the [18F]FMT could be more sensitive, with respect of [18F]FDOPA, to investigate DA terminals loss in 6-OHDA rats, and open the way to in vivo AADC activity targeting in future investigations on progressive PD models. [less ▲]

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See detailFunctional correlates of the protective effects of free wheel-running against cocaine psychomotor sensitization on dopamine D2 receptors: a [18F]Fallypride microPET study.
Becker, Guillaume ULiege; Lespine, Louis-Ferdinand ULiege; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege et al

Conference (2017, April 05)

Preclinical studies suggest that free access to a running wheel can attenuate the behavioural responsiveness to addictive drugs in rodents. Regarding the behavioural responsiveness to drugs, psychomotor ... [more ▼]

Preclinical studies suggest that free access to a running wheel can attenuate the behavioural responsiveness to addictive drugs in rodents. Regarding the behavioural responsiveness to drugs, psychomotor sensitization has an integral role in the process of drug addiction in craving and relapse (Steketee and Kalivas, 2011). Free wheel-running was recently shown to be efficacious at preventing the initiation or the long-term expression of psychomotor sensitization to cocaine in mice or rats (Diaz et al., 2013; Geuzaine and Tirelli, 2014). In the present study, we investigated the neuro-functional correlates of the protection against psychomotor sensitization to cocaine afforded by free wheel-running on dopaminergic neurotransmission, using microPET imaging with [18F]Fallypride, a Dopamine 2 receptor (D2R) antagonist. We used a total of 32 female C57BL/6J mice. At 28 days of age, the mice were randomly assigned to on of the two experimental housing conditions, defined by the presence or the absence of a running wheel in the cage (pre-testing period: 6 weeks). Since mice from the two types of housing received either saline or cocaine (8 mg/kg, i.p.) during testing (9 days), a basic 2*2 factorial design was generated (two-way ANOVA). The whole experimentation lasted 85 days, included the 42-days pre-testing period and the 3 weeks (housing condition, no injection) between the testing and the long-term expression of sensitization (LTES). All mice underwent a microPET (Focus 120, Siemens) the day after the LTES. The microPET protocol consisted of a 60 min. dynamic acquisition after the injection of 10 MBq of [18F]Fallypride in the tail vein. We observe a strong attenuating effect of exercise on the expression of sensitization to cocaine (Effect Size = 2.66 at p < .001 one-tailed, N.B: Effect Size is the mean difference in standard deviation units). Regarding the microPET outcomes ([18F]Fallypride Binding Potential, BP), we have a significant increase of the [18F]Fallypride BP for the cocaine-treated mice, compared to the saline-injected mice (Effect Size = 0.78 at p = .02 one-tailed). We observe a decrease tendency of the [18F]Fallypride BP in the exercise condition compared to the sedentary condition (ES = 0.48 at p = .09 one-tailed). These findings indicate that LTES is associated with an increase of the [18F]Fallypride BP in the mouse striatum, probably reflecting an increase in postsynaptic D2R density in this region. Besides that, the protecting effect of free running on psychomotor sensitization goes together with a decrease in D2R density in the striatum of exercised mice. Those data will be augmented with identical sub-experiment. All data will be pooled together to reach a total number of 64 mice (n = 16 per group). [less ▲]

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