OBJECTIVE: Brown adipose tissue (BAT), a specialized tissue for thermogenesis, plays important roles for metabolism and energy expenditure. Recent studies validated BAT's presence in human adults, making it an important re-emerging target for various pathologies. During this validation, PET images with (18)F-FDG showed significant uptake of (18)F-FDG by BAT under certain conditions. Here, we demonstrated that Cerenkov luminescence imaging (CLI) using (18)F-FDG could be utilized for in vivo optical imaging of BAT in mice.
METHODS: Mice were injected with (18)F-FDG and imaged 60 minutes later with open filter and 2 minute acquisition. In vivo activation of BAT was performed by norepinephrine and cold treatment under isoflurane or ketamine anesthesia. Spectral unmixing and 3D imaging reconstruction were conducted with multiple-filter CLI images.
RESULTS: 1) It was feasible to use CLI with (18)F-FDG to image interscapular BAT in mice, with the majority of the signal (>85%) at the interscapular site originating from BAT; 2) The method was reliable because excellent correlations between in vivo CLI, ex vivo CLI, and ex vivo radioactivity were observed; 3) CLI could be used for monitoring BAT activation under different conditions; 4) CLI signals from the group under short-term isoflurane anesthesia were significantly higher than that from the group under long-term anesthesia; 5) The CLI spectrum of (18)F-FDG with a peak at 640 nm in BAT after spectral unmixing reflected the actual context of BAT; 6) Finally 3D reconstruction images showed excellent correlation between the source of the light signal and the location and physical shape of BAT.
CONCLUSION: CLI with (18)F-FDG is a feasible and reliable method for imaging BAT in mice. Compared to PET imaging, CLI is significantly cheaper, faster for 2D planar imaging and easier to use. We believe that this method could be used as an important tool for researchers investigating BAT.