Inflammation contributes to ventricular remodeling after myocardial ischemia, but its role in nonischemic heart failure is poorly understood. Local tissue inflammation is difficult to assess serially during pathogenesis. Although 18F-FDG accumulates in inflammatory leukocytes and thus may identify inflammation in the myocardial microenvironment, it remains unclear whether this imaging technique can isolate diffuse leukocytes in pressure-overload heart failure. We aimed to evaluate whether inflammation with 18F-FDG can be serially imaged in the early stages of pressure-overload-induced heart failure and to compare the time course with functional impairment assessed by cardiac MRI. Methods: C57Bl6/N mice underwent transverse aortic constriction (TAC) (n = 22), sham surgery (n = 12), or coronary ligation as an inflammation-positive control (n = 5). MRI assessed ventricular geometry and contractile function at 2 and 8 d after TAC. Immunostaining identified the extent of inflammatory leukocyte infiltration early in pressure overload. 18F-FDG PET scans were acquired at 3 and 7 d after TAC, under ketamine-xylazine anesthesia to suppress cardiomyocyte glucose uptake. Results: Pressure overload evoked rapid left ventricular dilation compared with sham (end-systolic volume, day 2: 40.6 ± 10.2 μL vs. 23.8 ± 1.7 μL, P < 0.001). Contractile function was similarly impaired (ejection fraction, day 2: 40.9% ± 9.7% vs. 59.2% ± 4.4%, P < 0.001). The severity of contractile impairment was proportional to histology-defined myocardial macrophage density on day 8 (r = -0.669, P = 0.010). PET imaging identified significantly higher left ventricular 18F-FDG accumulation in TAC mice than in sham mice on day 3 (10.5 ± 4.1 percentage injected dose [%ID]/g vs. 3.8 ± 0.9 %ID/g, P < 0.001) and on day 7 (7.8 ± 3.7 %ID/g vs. 3.0 ± 0.8 %ID/g, P = 0.006), though the efficiency of cardiomyocyte suppression was variable among TAC mice. The 18F-FDG signal correlated with ejection fraction (r = -0.75, P = 0.01) and ventricular volume (r = 0.75, P < 0.01). Western immunoblotting demonstrated a 60% elevation of myocardial glucose transporter 4 expression in the left ventricle at 8 d after TAC, indicating altered glucose metabolism. Conclusion: TAC induces rapid changes in left ventricular geometry and contractile function, with a parallel modest infiltration of inflammatory macrophages. Metabolic remodeling overshadows inflammatory leukocyte signal using 18F-FDG PET imaging. More selective inflammatory tracers are requisite to identify the diffuse local inflammation in pressure overload.
Keywords: 18F-FDG; MRI; PET; heart failure; inflammation; macrophage.
© 2020 by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.