Imaging enterobacteriaceae infection in vivo with 18F-fluorodeoxysorbitol positron emission tomography

Edward A. Weinstein, Alvaro A. Ordonez, Vincent P. DeMarco, Allison M. Murawski, Supriya Pokkali, Elizabeth M. MacDonald, Mariah Klunk, Ronnie C. Mease, Martin G. Pomper, Sanjay K. Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


The Enterobacteriaceae are a family of rod-shaped Gram-negative bacteria that normally inhabit the gastrointestinal tract and are the most common cause of Gram-negative bacterial infections in humans. In addition to causing serious multidrug-resistant, hospital-acquired infections, a number of Enterobacteriaceae species are also recognized as biothreat pathogens. As a consequence, new tools are urgently needed to specifically identify and localize infections due to Enterobacteriaceae and to monitor antimicrobial efficacy. In this report, we used commercially available 2-[18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) to produce 2-[18F]-fluorodeoxysorbitol (18F-FDS), a radioactive probe for Enterobacteriaceae, in 30 min. 18F-FDS selectively accumulated in Enterobacteriaceae, but not in Gram-positive bacteria or healthy mammalian or cancer cells in vitro. In a murine myositis model, 18F-FDS positron emission tomography (PET) rapidly differentiated true infection from sterile inflammation with a limit of detection of 6.2 ± 0.2 log10 colony-forming units (CFU) for Escherichia coli. Our findings were extended to models of mixed Grampositive and Gram-negative thigh co-infections, brain infection, Klebsiella pneumonia, and mice undergoing immunosuppressive chemotherapy. This technique rapidly and specifically localized infections due to Enterobacteriaceae, providing a three-dimensional holistic view within the animal. Last, 18F-FDS PET monitored the efficacy of antimicrobial treatment, demonstrating a PET signal proportionate to the bacterial burden. Therapeutic failures associated with multidrug-resistant, extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing E. coli infections were detected in real time. Together, these data show that 18F-FDS is a candidate imaging probe for translation to human clinical cases of known or suspected infections owing to Enterobacteriaceae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259ra146
JournalScience translational medicine
Issue number259
StatePublished - Oct 22 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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