The kinetics of radiolabelled interleukin-8 in infection and sterile inflammation

Nucl Med Commun. 1998 Mar;19(3):271-81. doi: 10.1097/00006231-199803000-00012.


Radiolabelled interleukin-8 (IL-8) is a promising agent for the imaging of infection and inflammation. Several experiments were performed to explore further the imaging potential of radiolabelled IL-8. IL-8 was radioiodinated via the Bolton-Hunter method. Rabbits with focal infection (Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus) or sterile inflammation (zymosan) were injected intravenously with 18.5 MBq (0.5 mCi) of 123I-IL-8. In separate studies, rabbits were injected intravenously with 111In-granulocytes with or without 125I-IL-8. Gamma camera images were obtained at 5 min, 1, 4 and 8 h post-injection (p.i.). Biodistribution was determined at 8 h p.i. In all models, the biodistribution of 123I-IL-8 was characterized by rapid blood clearance and high uptake in infection and sterile inflammation. All foci could be clearly visualized within 4 h p.i. Ex vivo abscess-to-contralateral muscle ratios increased to 114.7+/-23.0 (E. coli), 52.3+/-24.5 (S. aureus) and 49.8+/-8.3 (zymosan) at 8 h p.i. In the circulation, most 123I-IL-8 was bound to erythrocytes. The abscess uptake of 125I-IL-8 reached high levels despite reduced migration of granulocytes towards the site of infection due to the anti-inflammatory activity of intravenously injected IL-8. IL-8 could be injected without induction of neutropenia at a dosage of 2 ng kg(-1). In conclusion, the characteristics of radiolabelled IL-8 for imaging of infection and sterile inflammation are highly encouraging and warrant further optimization for clinical application.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / blood
  • Escherichia coli Infections / diagnostic imaging
  • Escherichia coli Infections / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diagnostic imaging
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Interleukin-8 / pharmacokinetics*
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / pharmacokinetics*
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin / blood
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8A
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacokinetics
  • Staphylococcal Infections / diagnostic imaging
  • Staphylococcal Infections / immunology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Zymosan


  • Antigens, CD
  • Interleukin-8
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8A
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Zymosan