Quantitative imaging of the T cell antitumor response by positron-emission tomography

Purnima Dubey, Helen Su, Nona Adonai, Shouying Du, Antonio Rosato, Jonathan Braun, Sanjiv S. Gambhir, Owen N. Witte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe a noninvasive, quantitative, and tomographic method to visualize lymphocytes within the whole animal. We used positron-emission tomography (PET) to follow the localization of adoptively transferred immune T lymphocytes. Splenic T cells from animals that had rejected a Moloney murine sarcoma virus/Moloney murine leukemia virus (M-MSV/M-MuLV)-induced tumor were marked with a PET reporter gene, injected into tumor-bearing mice, and imaged in a microPET by using a substrate specific for the reporter. Specific localization of immune T cells to the antigen-positive tumor was detected over time, by sequential imaging of the same animals. Naive T cells did not localize to the tumor site, indicating that preimmunization was required. Autoradiography and immunohistochemistry analysis corroborated the microPET data. The method we have developed can be used to assess the effects of immunomodulatory agents intended to potentiate the immune response to cancer, and can also be useful for the study of other cell-mediated immune responses, including autoimmunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1232-1237
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 4 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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