Noninvasive repetitive imaging of somatostatin receptor 2 gene transfer with positron emission tomography

Gabriella Cotugno, Michela Aurilio, Patrizia Annunziata, Anita Capalbo, Armida Faella, Valentina Rinaldi, Caterina Strisciuglio, Maurizio Di Tommaso, Luigi Aloj, Alberto Auricchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Noninvasive in vivo imaging of gene expression is desirable to monitor gene transfer in both animal models and humans. Reporter transgenes with low endogenous expression levels are instrumental to this end. The human somatostatin receptor 2 (hSSTR2) has low expression levels in a variety of tissues, including muscle and liver. We tested the possibility of noninvasively and quantitatively monitoring hSSTR2 transgene expression, following adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector-mediated gene delivery to murine muscle and liver by positron emission tomography (PET) using 68gallium-DOTA- Tyr3-Thr8-octreotate (68Ga-DOTATATE) as a highly specific SSTR2 ligand. Repetitive PET imaging showed hSSTR2 signal up to 6 months, which corresponds to the last time point of the analysis, after gene delivery in both transduced tissues. The levels of tracer accumulation measured in muscle and liver after gene delivery were significantly higher than in control tissues and correlated with the doses of AAV vector administered. As repetitive, quantitative, noninvasive imaging of AAV-mediated SSTR2 gene transfer to muscle and liver is feasible and efficient using PET, we propose this system to monitor the expression of therapeutic genes coexpressed with SSTR2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Gene Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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