This study aimed to develop a PET imaging agent of angiomotin (AMOT) expression, a potential biomarker of functional tissue regeneration in post-ischaemic conditions

Hindlimb ischemia was induced by ligature and resection of the right femoral artery in mice, and clinical score and limb perfusion were evaluated up to 30 days after surgery. AMOT expression was evaluated by histology and Western blot analysis. NODAGA-conjugates of AMOT ligand, sCD146, were designed, synthesized and radiolabelled with gallium-68. 

68 Ga-sCD146 microPET / CT imaging was performed from day 1 to day 30 after ischaemia. 68 Ga-sCD146 specificity for AMOT was evaluated by autoradiography. Immunohistochemistry showed a significant endothelial overexpression of AMOT from day 5 up to day 10 in the ischaemic hindlimb. 


68Ga-sCD146 PET signal intensity correlated significantly with AMOT immunohistochemistry evaluation. 68 Ga-sCD146 PET imaging showed a significant uptake in the ischaemic hindlimb from day 2 to day 15, peaking on day 5 (ipsi / contralateral ratio = 2.4 ± 1.3, P = 0.0005) and significantly decreased after pharmacological blocking (62.57 ± 11% decrease in PET signal P = 0.032).

Finally, we observed a significant correlation between day 5  68 Ga-sCD146 PET signal intensity and clinical recovery (day 28) or hindlimb perfusion recovery (day 30). This work reports for the first time an early and increasing increase in AMOT expression after hindlimb ischemia in mice.

They then developed an AMOT-targeting imaging agent,  68Ga-sCD146, and showed its specific uptake up to 21 days after ischaemic hindlimb using microPET imaging. Correlation of early post-ischaemic PET signal with both delayed perfusion recovery and clinical outcome allows us to postulate that  68 Ga-sCD146 represents a promising radiotracer for tissue angiogenesis assessment.