In vivo imaging using fluorescent antibodies to tumor necrosis factor predicts therapeutic response in Crohn's disease

Nat Med. 2014 Mar;20(3):313-8. doi: 10.1038/nm.3462. Epub 2014 Feb 23.


As antibodies to tumor necrosis factor (TNF) suppress immune responses in Crohn's disease by binding to membrane-bound TNF (mTNF), we created a fluorescent antibody for molecular mTNF imaging in this disease. Topical antibody administration in 25 patients with Crohn's disease led to detection of intestinal mTNF(+) immune cells during confocal laser endomicroscopy. Patients with high numbers of mTNF(+) cells showed significantly higher short-term response rates (92%) at week 12 upon subsequent anti-TNF therapy as compared to patients with low amounts of mTNF(+) cells (15%). This clinical response in the former patients was sustained over a follow-up period of 1 year and was associated with mucosal healing observed in follow-up endoscopy. These data indicate that molecular imaging with fluorescent antibodies has the potential to predict therapeutic responses to biological treatment and can be used for personalized medicine in Crohn's disease and autoimmune or inflammatory disorders.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / chemistry
  • Crohn Disease / metabolism*
  • Crohn Disease / therapy*
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / chemistry
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Inflammation
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / chemistry


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Adalimumab