Luminescence imaging using radionuclides: a potential application in molecular imaging

Nucl Med Biol. 2011 Apr;38(3):321-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2010.09.003. Epub 2010 Oct 27.


Introduction: Nuclear and optical imaging are complementary in many aspects and there would be many advantages when optical imaging probes are prepared using radionuclides rather than classic fluorophores, and when nuclear and optical dual images are obtained using single imaging probe.

Methods: The luminescence intensities of various radionuclides having different decay modes have been assayed using luminescence imaging and in vitro luminometer. Radioiodinated Herceptin was injected into a tumor-bearing mouse, and luminescence and microPET images were obtained. The plant dipped in [(32)P]phosphate solution was scanned in luminescence mode. Radio-TLC plate was also imaged in the same imaging mode.

Results: Radionuclides emitting high energy β(+)/β(-) particles showed higher luminescence signals. NIH3T6.7 tumors were detected in both optical and nuclear imaging. The uptake of [(32)P]phosphate in plant was easily followed by luminescence imaging. Radio-TLC plate was visualized and radiochemical purity was quantified using luminescence imaging.

Conclusion: Many radionuclides with high energetic β(+) or β(-) particles during decay were found to be imaged in luminescence mode due mainly to Cerenkov radiation. 'Cerenkov imaging' provides a new optical imaging platform and an invaluable bridge between optical and nuclear imaging. New optical imaging probes could be easily prepared using well-established radioiodination methods. Cerenkov imaging will have more applications in the research field of plant science and autoradiography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Arabidopsis
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Luminescent Measurements / methods*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Imaging / methods*
  • Optical Phenomena
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radionuclide Imaging / methods*
  • Trastuzumab


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Trastuzumab