Purpose: In this study, we evaluated a genetic approach for in vivo multimodal molecular imaging of vasculature in a mouse model of melanoma.
Procedures: We used a novel transgenic mouse, Ts-Biotag, that genetically biotinylates vascular endothelial cells. After inoculating these mice with B16 melanoma cells, we selectively targeted endothelial cells with (strept)avidinated contrast agents to achieve multimodal contrast enhancement of Tie2-expressing blood vessels during tumor progression.
Results: This genetic targeting system provided selective labeling of tumor vasculature and showed in vivo binding of avidinated probes with high specificity and sensitivity using microscopy, near infrared, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging. We further demonstrated the feasibility of conducting longitudinal three-dimensional (3D) targeted imaging studies to dynamically assess changes in vascular Tie2 from early to advanced tumor stages.
Conclusions: Our results validated the Ts-Biotag mouse as a multimodal targeted imaging system with the potential to provide spatio-temporal information about dynamic changes in vasculature during tumor progression.
Keywords: B16 Melanoma; MRI; Near infrared; Tie2 expression; Ts-Biotag; Ultrasound.