124I-Iodo-DPA-713 Positron Emission Tomography in a Hamster Model of SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Camilo A. Ruiz-Bedoya, Filipa Mota, Alvaro A. Ordonez, Catherine A. Foss, Alok K. Singh, Monali Praharaj, Farina J. Mahmud, Ali Ghayoor, Kelly Flavahan, Patricia De Jesus, Melissa Bahr, Santosh Dhakal, Ruifeng Zhou, Clarisse V. Solis, Kathleen R. Mulka, William R. Bishai, Andrew Pekosz, Joseph L. Mankowski, Jason Villano, Sabra L. KleinSanjay K. Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Molecular imaging has provided unparalleled opportunities to monitor disease processes, although tools for evaluating infection remain limited. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is mediated by lung injury that we sought to model. Activated macrophages/phagocytes have an important role in lung injury, which is responsible for subsequent respiratory failure and death. We performed pulmonary PET/CT with 124I-iodo-DPA-713, a low-molecular-weight pyrazolopyrimidine ligand selectively trapped by activated macrophages cells, to evaluate the local immune response in a hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Procedures: Pulmonary 124I-iodo-DPA-713 PET/CT was performed in SARS-CoV-2-infected golden Syrian hamsters. CT images were quantified using a custom-built lung segmentation tool. Studies with DPA-713-IRDye680LT and a fluorescent analog of DPA-713 as well as histopathology and flow cytometry were performed on post-mortem tissues. Results: Infected hamsters were imaged at the peak of inflammatory lung disease (7 days post-infection). Quantitative CT analysis was successful for all scans and demonstrated worse pulmonary disease in male versus female animals (P < 0.01). Increased 124I-iodo-DPA-713 PET activity co-localized with the pneumonic lesions. Additionally, higher pulmonary 124I-iodo-DPA-713 PET activity was noted in male versus female hamsters (P = 0.02). DPA-713-IRDye680LT also localized to the pneumonic lesions. Flow cytometry demonstrated a higher percentage of myeloid and CD11b + cells (macrophages, phagocytes) in male versus female lung tissues (P = 0.02). Conclusion: 124I-Iodo-DPA-713 accumulates within pneumonic lesions in a hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. As a novel molecular imaging tool, 124I-Iodo-DPA-713 PET could serve as a noninvasive, clinically translatable approach to monitor SARS-CoV-2-associated pulmonary inflammation and expedite the development of novel therapeutics for COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-143
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Imaging and Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Immune response
  • Macrophage
  • Molecular imaging
  • PET/CT
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sex difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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