Diagnostic radionuclide imaging of amyloid: biological targeting by circulating human serum amyloid P component

Lancet. 1988 Jun 25;1(8600):1413-8. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(88)92235-0.


The specific molecular affinity of the normal plasma protein, serum amyloid P component (SAP), for all known types of amyloid fibrils was used to develop a new general diagnostic method for in-vivo radionuclide imaging of amyloid deposits. After intravenous injection of 123I-labelled purified human SAP there was specific uptake into amyloid deposits in all affected patients, 7 with systemic AL amyloid, 5 with AA amyloid, and 2 with beta 2M amyloid, in contrast to the complete absence of any tissue localisation in 5 control subjects. Distinctive high-resolution scintigraphic images, even of minor deposits in the carpal regions, bone marrow, or adrenals, were obtained. This procedure should yield much information on the natural history and the management of amyloidosis, the presence of which has hitherto been confirmed only by biopsy. Clearance and metabolic studies indicated that, in the presence of extensive amyloidosis, the rate of synthesis of SAP was greatly increased despite maintenance of normal plasma levels. Furthermore, once localised to amyloid deposits the 123I-SAP persisted for long periods and was apparently protected from its normal rapid degradation. These findings shed new light on the pathophysiology of amyloid and may have implications for therapeutic strategies based upon specific molecular targeting with SAP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amyloidosis / blood
  • Amyloidosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Serum Amyloid P-Component / blood*


  • Serum Amyloid P-Component