Registered users receive a variety of benefits including the ability to customize email alerts, create favorite journals list, and save searches.
Please note that a BioOne web account does not automatically grant access to full-text content. An institutional or society member subscription is required to view non-Open Access content.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Molecular imaging is an evolving science that is concerned with the development of novel imaging probes and biomarkers that can be used to non-invasively image molecular and cellular processes. This special issue approaches molecular imaging in the context of radiation research, focusing on biomarkers and imaging methods that provide measurable signals that can assist in the quantification of radiation-induced effects of living systems at the physical, chemical and biological levels. The potential to image molecular changes in response to a radiation insult opens new and exciting opportunities for a more profound understanding of radiation biology, with the possibility of translation of these techniques to radiotherapy practice. This special issue brings together 14 reviews dedicated to the use of molecular imaging in the field of radiation research. The initial three reviews are introductory overviews of the key molecular imaging modalities: magnetic resonance, nuclear and optical. This is followed by 11 reviews each focusing on a specialist area within the field of radiation research. These include: hypoxia and perfusion, tissue metabolism, normal tissue injury, cell death and viability, receptor targeting and nanotechnology, reporter genes, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and biological dosimetry. Over the preceding decade, molecular imaging brought significant new advances to our understanding of every area of radiation biology. This special issue shows us these advances and points to the vibrant future of our field armed with these new capabilities.
This article aims to provide an educational document of magnetic resonance imaging principles for applied biomedical users of the technology. Basic principles are illustrated using simple experimental models on a preclinical imaging system.
The underlying principles of nuclear medicine imaging involve the use of unsealed sources of radioactivity in the form of radiopharmaceuticals. The ionizing radiations that accompany the decay of the administered radioactivity can be quantitatively detected, measured, and imaged in vivo with instruments such as gamma cameras. This paper reviews the design and operating principles, as well as the capabilities and limitations, of instruments used clinically and preclinically for in vivo radionuclide imaging. These include gamma cameras, single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scanners, and positron emission tomography (PET) scanners. The technical basis of autoradiography is reviewed as well.
Optical imaging and spectroscopy is a diverse field that has been of critical importance in a wide range of areas in radiation research. It is capable of spanning a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, and has the sensitivity and specificity needed for molecular and functional imaging. This review will describe the basic principles of optical imaging and spectroscopy, highlighting a few relevant applications to radiation research.
Electron paramagnetic resonance imaging (EPRI) can be used to noninvasively and quantitatively obtain three-dimensional maps of tumor pO2. The paramagnetic tracer triarylmethyl (TAM), a substituted trityl radical moiety, is not toxic to animals and provides narrow isotropic spectra, which is ideal for in vivo EPR imaging experiments. From the oxygen-induced spectral broadening of TAM, pO2 maps can be derived using EPRI. The instrumentation consists of an EPRI spectrometer and 7T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system both operating at a common radiofrequency of 300 MHz. Anatomic images obtained by MRI can be overlaid with pO2 maps obtained from EPRI. With imaging times of less than 3 min, it was possible to monitor the dynamics of oxygen changes in tumor and distinguish chronically hypoxic regions from acutely hypoxic regions. In this article, the principles of pO2 imaging with EPR and some relevant examples of tumor imaging are reviewed.
Imaging research and advances in systems engineering have enabled the transition of medical imaging from a means for accomplishing traditional anatomic visualization (i.e., orthopedic planar film X ray) to a means for noninvasively assessing a variety of functional measures. Perfusion imaging is one of the major highlights in functional imaging. In this work, various methods for measuring perfusion using widely-available commercial imaging modalities and contrast agents, specifically X ray and MR (magnetic resonance), will be described. The first section reviews general methods used for perfusion imaging, and the second section provides modality-specific information, focusing on the contrast mechanisms used to calculate perfusion-related parameters. The goal of these descriptions is to illustrate how perfusion imaging can be applied to radiation biology research.
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy allows noninvasive in vivo measurements of biochemical information from living systems, ranging from cultured cells through experimental animals to humans. Studies of biopsies or extracts offer deeper insights by detecting more metabolites and resolving metabolites that cannot be distinguished in vivo. The pharmacokinetics of certain drugs, especially fluorinated drugs, can be directly measured in vivo. This review briefly describes these methods and their applications to cancer metabolism, including glycolysis, hypoxia, bioenergetics, tumor pH, and tumor responses to radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a noninvasive imaging technique that provides functional or metabolic assessment of normal tissue or disease conditions and is playing an increasing role in cancer radiotherapy planning. 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose PET imaging (FDG-PET) is widely used in the clinic for tumor imaging due to increased glucose metabolism in most types of tumors; its role in radiotherapy management of various cancers is reviewed. In addition, other metabolic PET imaging agents at various stages of preclinical and clinical development are reviewed. These agents include radiolabeled amino acids such as methionine for detecting increased protein synthesis, radiolabeled choline for detecting increased membrane lipid synthesis, and radiolabeled acetate for detecting increased cytoplasmic lipid synthesis. The amino acid analogs choline and acetate are often more specific to tumor cells than FDG, so they may play an important role in differentiating cancers from benign conditions and in the diagnosis of cancers with either low FDG uptake or high background FDG uptake. PET imaging with FDG and other metabolic PET imaging agents is playing an increasing role in complementary radiotherapy planning.
Technological developments in radiation therapy and other cancer therapies have led to a progressive increase in five-year survival rates over the last few decades. Although acute effects have been largely minimized by both technical advances and medical interventions, late effects remain a concern. Indeed, the need to identify those individuals who will develop radiation-induced late effects, and to develop interventions to prevent or ameliorate these late effects is a critical area of radiobiology research. In the last two decades, preclinical studies have clearly established that late radiation injury can be prevented/ameliorated by pharmacological therapies aimed at modulating the cascade of events leading to the clinical expression of radiation-induced late effects. These insights have been accompanied by significant technological advances in imaging that are moving radiation oncology and normal tissue radiobiology from disciplines driven by anatomy and macrostructure to ones in which important quantitative functional, microstructural, and metabolic data can be noninvasively and serially determined. In the current article, we review use of positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission tomography (SPECT), magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and MR spectroscopy to generate pathophysiological and functional data in the central nervous system, lung, and heart that offer the promise of, (1) identifying individuals who are at risk of developing radiation-induced late effects, and (2) monitoring the efficacy of interventions to prevent/ameliorate them.
Prediction of response to therapy has been identified as an important tool to obtain a more customized treatment. It allows the selection of those patients who will benefit most from a particular therapy and prevents the exposure of patients to toxic, noneffective regimens. Recent technical advances and the introduction of novel markers in anatomical and functional imaging have created exciting opportunities for in vivo visualization and quantification of cell death. This review will focus on in vivo apoptosis imaging as a predictive marker for tumor response after radiation.
Precise dose delivery to malignant tissue in radiotherapy is of paramount importance for treatment efficacy while minimizing morbidity of surrounding normal tissues. Current conventional imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT), are used to define the three-dimensional shape and volume of the tumor for radiation therapy. In many cases, these radiographic imaging (RI) techniques are ambiguous or provide limited information with regard to tumor margins and histopathology. Molecular imaging (MI) modalities, such as positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon-emission computed-tomography (SPECT) that can characterize tumor tissue, are rapidly becoming routine in radiation therapy. However, their inherent low spatial resolution impedes tumor delineation for the purposes of radiation treatment planning. This review will focus on applications of nanotechnology to synergize imaging modalities in order to accurately highlight, as well as subsequently target, tumor cells. Furthermore, using such nano-agents for imaging, simultaneous coupling of novel therapeutics including radiosensitizers can be delivered specifically to the tumor to maximize tumor cell killing while sparing normal tissue.
There is increasing emphasis on the use of systems biology approaches to define radiation-induced responses in cells and tissues. Such approaches frequently rely on global screening using various high throughput ‘omics' platforms. Although these methods are ideal for obtaining an unbiased overview of cellular responses, they often cannot reflect the inherent heterogeneity of the system or provide detailed spatial information. Additionally, performing such studies with multiple sampling time points can be prohibitively expensive. Imaging provides a complementary method with high spatial and temporal resolution capable of following the dynamics of signaling processes. In this review, we utilize specific examples to illustrate how imaging approaches have furthered our understanding of radiation-induced cellular signaling. Particular emphasis is placed on protein colocalization, and oscillatory and transient signaling dynamics.
Molecular imaging is a rapidly advancing field that allows cancer biologists to look deeper into the complex inner workings of tumor cells, or whole tumors, in a non-invasive manner. In this review, we will summarize some recent advances that enable investigators to study various important biological processes in tumors in vivo. We will discuss novel imaging approaches that allow investigators to visualize and quantify molecular pathways, such as receptor tyrosine kinase activation, hypoxia signal transduction, apoptosis, and DNA double-strand breaks. Select examples of these applications will be discussed. Because of the limited scope of this review, we will only focus on natural reporters, such as bioluminescence and fluorescent proteins.
Oxidative stress has been the object of considerable biological and biochemical investigation. Quantification has been difficult although the quantitative level of products of biological oxidations in tissues and tissue products has emerged as a widely used technique. The relationship between these products and the amount of oxidative stress is less clear. Imaging oxidative stress with electron paramagnetic resonance related magnetic resonance imaging, while not addressing the specific issue of quantification of initiating events, focuses on the anatomic specific location of the oxidative stress. Moreover, the relative quantification of oxidative stress of one location against another is possible, sharpening our understanding of oxidative stress. This promises to improve our understanding of oxidative stress and its deleterious consequences and enhance our understanding of the effectiveness of interventions to modulate oxidative stress and its consequences.
Imaging was one of the earliest techniques to quantify radiation dose. While films and active fluorescent detectors are still commonly used in physical dosimetry, biological imaging is emerging as a new method to visualize and quantify radiation dose in biological targets. Methods for biological imaging are normally based on molecular fluorescent probes, labeling chromatin-conjugated molecules or specific repair proteins. Examples are chromatin-binding coumarin compounds, which become fluorescent under irradiation, or the H2AX histone, which is rapidly phosphorylated at sites of DNA double-strand breaks and can be visualized by immunostaining. Many other DNA repair proteins can be expressed with fluorescent targets, such as green fluorescent protein, thus becoming visible for dose estimation in vivo. The possibility to visualize radiation damage in living biological targets is particularly important for repair kinetic studies, for estimating individual radiation response, and for remote control of living samples exposed to radiation, for instance in robotic space missions. In vivo dose monitoring in particle therapy exploits the production of positron emitters by nuclear interaction of the incident beam in the patient's body. Positron emission tomography (PET) can then be used to visualize and quantify the particle dose in the patient, and it can in principle also be used for radiotherapy with high-energy X rays. Alternatively, prompt γ rays or scattered secondary particles are under study for in vivo dosimetry of ion beams in therapy.