Collagen-Targeted Peptides for Molecular Imaging of Diffuse Cardiac Fibrosis
AuthorEzeani, M; Noor, A; Alt, K; Lal, S; Donnelly, PS; Hagemeyer, CE; Niego, B
Source TitleJournal of the American Heart Association
AffiliationSchool of Chemistry
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsEzeani, M., Noor, A., Alt, K., Lal, S., Donnelly, P. S., Hagemeyer, C. E. & Niego, B. (2021). Collagen-Targeted Peptides for Molecular Imaging of Diffuse Cardiac Fibrosis. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION, 10 (18), https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.121.022139.
Access StatusOpen Access
Background Cardiac fibrosis is the excessive deposition of extracellular matrix in the heart, triggered by a cardiac insult, aging, genetics, or environmental factors. Molecular imaging of the cardiac extracellular matrix with targeted probes could improve diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. However, although this technology has been used to demonstrate focal scarring arising from myocardial infarction, its capacity to demonstrate extracellular matrix expansion and diffuse cardiac fibrosis has not been assessed. Methods and Results Here, we report the use of collagen-targeted peptides labeled with near-infrared fluorophores for the detection of diffuse cardiac fibrosis in the β2-AR (β-2-adrenergic receptor) overexpressing mouse model and in ischemic human hearts. Two approaches were evaluated, the first based on a T peptide that binds matrix metalloproteinase-2-proteolyzed collagen IV, and the second on the cyclic peptide EP-3533, which targets collagen I. The systemic and cardiac uptakes of both peptides (intravenously administered) were quantified ex vivo by near-infrared imaging of whole organs, tissue sections, and heart lysates. The peptide accumulation profiles corresponded to an immunohistochemically-validated increase in collagen types I and IV in hearts of transgenic mice versus littermate controls. The T peptide could encouragingly demonstrate both the intermediate (7 months old) and severe (11 months old) cardiomyopathic phenotypes. Co-immunostainings of fluorescent peptides and collagens, as well as reduced collagen binding of a control peptide, confirmed the collagen specificity of the tracers. Qualitative analysis of heart samples from patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy compared with nondiseased donors supported the collagen-enhancement capabilities of these peptides also in the clinical settings. Conclusions Together, these observations demonstrate the feasibility and translation potential of molecular imaging with collagen-binding peptides for noninvasive imaging of diffuse cardiac fibrosis.
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