Multimodality Imaging of Inflammation and Ventricular Remodeling in Pressure-Overload Heart Failure

J Nucl Med. 2020 Apr;61(4):590-596. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.119.232488. Epub 2019 Oct 25.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative / metabolism
  • Heart Failure / complications
  • Heart Failure / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Failure / metabolism
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Inflammation / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Multimodal Imaging*
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Pressure / adverse effects*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / complications
  • Ventricular Remodeling*


  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative