Non-specific binding of [18F]FDG to calcifications in atherosclerotic plaques: experimental study of mouse and human arteries

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2006 Dec;33(12):1461-7. doi: 10.1007/s00259-006-0159-6. Epub 2006 Jul 15.


Purpose: [(18)F]FDG has been used as an inflammation marker and shown to accumulate in inflammatory atherosclerotic plaques. The aim of this study was to investigate the uptake and location of [(18)F]FDG in atherosclerotic plaque compartments.

Methods: The biodistribution of intravenously administered [(18)F]FDG was analysed in atherosclerotic LDLR/ApoB48 mice (n=11) and control mice (n=9). Digital autoradiography was used to detect the ex vivo distribution in frozen aortic sections. In vitro binding of [(18)F]FDG in human atherosclerotic arteries was also examined.

Results: The uptake of [(18)F]FDG was significantly higher in the aorta of atherosclerotic mice as compared with the control mice. Autoradiography of excised arteries showed higher [(18)F]FDG uptake in the plaques than in the healthy vessel wall (mean ratio +/-SD 2.7+/-1.1). The uptake of [(18)F]FDG in the necrotic, calcified sites of the advanced atherosclerotic lesions was 6.2+/-3.2 times higher than that in the healthy vessel wall. The in vitro studies of human arterial sections showed marked binding of [(18)F]FDG to the calcifications but not to other structures of the artery wall.

Conclusion: In agreement with previous studies, we observed [(18)F]FDG uptake in atherosclerotic plaques. However, prominent non-specific binding to calcified structures was found. This finding warrants further studies to clarify the significance of this non-specific binding in human plaques in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / metabolism
  • Aorta / pathology
  • Apolipoprotein B-48 / deficiency
  • Arteries / metabolism*
  • Arteries / pathology*
  • Atherosclerosis / complications
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism*
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Autoradiography
  • Calcinosis / complications
  • Calcinosis / metabolism*
  • Carotid Stenosis / complications
  • Carotid Stenosis / metabolism*
  • Carotid Stenosis / pathology
  • Femoral Artery / metabolism
  • Femoral Artery / pathology
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / metabolism*
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, LDL / deficiency
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Apolipoprotein B-48
  • Receptors, LDL
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18