Objective. Evaluation of macrophage activation may provide essential information about aetiology and progression rate of osteoarthritis. Activated macrophages abundantly express the folate-receptor-beta (FR-β), which can be targeted using radioactive labelled folic acid. The purpose of this study was to investigate if macrophage activation can be monitored in small animal OA models using a folate radiotracer and to test if macrophage activation differs in different models of OA and subsequent different OA progression. Methods. Two rat models of OA were used: the monoiodoacetate (MIA) model, which is a fast progressing biochemical induced model and the anterior cruciate ligament transaction (ACLT) model that induces OA at a slower pace. Images were obtained using high resolution small animal SPECT/CT. Specificity of the technique was tested by eradicating macrophages using clodronate laden liposomes and blockade of the FR-β by cold folic acid. Results. The MIA model had a high initial activation with a peak after two weeks which disappeared after eight weeks. The ACLT model showed less activation but was still active 12 weeks after induction. The technique allowed monitoring of the disease process over time, in which late stage disease showed less macrophage activation than early onset stages especially in the fast progressing MIA model for OA. Conclusion. Macrophage activation in experimental OA could clearly be demonstrated and monitored by the folate radiotracer. The high resolution, high sensitivity and high specificity of the used technique allowed clear localisation of macrophage activity in a disease model, which is not known for abundant macrophage involvement.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Animal Model, Disease Activity, Imaging, Macrophages, Osteoarthritis
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.30363, hdl.handle.net/1765/20672
Journal Arthritis & Rheumatology
Note Accepted manuscript
Piscaer, T.M, Müller, C, Mindt, T, Lubberts, E.W, Verhaar, J.A.N, Krenning, E.P, … Weinans, H.H. (2011). Imaging of activated macrophages in experimental osteoarthritis using folate targeted animal SPECT/CT. Arthritis & Rheumatology, 63(7), 1898–1907. doi:10.1002/art.30363