In vivo positron emission tomographic blood pool imaging in an immunodeficient mouse model using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose labeled human erythrocytes

PLoS One. 2019 Jan 25;14(1):e0211012. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0211012. eCollection 2019.


99m-Technetium-labeled (99mTc) erythrocyte imaging with planar scintigraphy is widely used for evaluating both patients with occult gastrointestinal bleeding and patients at risk for chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity. While a number of alternative radionuclide-based blood pool imaging agents have been proposed, none have yet to achieve widespread clinical use. Here, we present both in vitro and small animal in vivo imaging evidence that the high physiological expression of the glucose transporter GLUT1 on human erythrocytes allows uptake of the widely available radiotracer 2-deoxy-2-(18F)fluoro-D-glucose (FDG), at a rate and magnitude sufficient for clinical blood pool positron emission tomographic (PET) imaging. This imaging technique is likely to be amenable to rapid clinical translation, as it can be achieved using a simple FDG labeling protocol, requires a relatively small volume of phlebotomized blood, and can be completed within a relatively short time period. As modern PET scanners typically have much greater count detection sensitivities than that of commonly used clinical gamma scintigraphic cameras, FDG-labeled human erythrocyte PET imaging may not only have significant advantages over 99mTc-labeled erythrocyte imaging, but may have other novel blood pool imaging applications.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism*
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / pharmacology*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Isotope Labeling*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344


  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • SLC2A1 protein, human
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18