Selective, high-contrast detection of syngeneic glioblastoma in vivo
Glioblastoma is a highly malignant, largely therapy-resistant brain tumour. Deep infiltration of brain tissue by neoplastic cells represents the key problem of diffuse glioma. Much current research focuses on the molecular makeup of the visible tumour mass rather than the cellular interactions in the surrounding brain tissue infiltrated by the invasive glioma cells that cause the tumour's ultimately lethal outcome. Diagnostic neuroimaging that enables the direct in vivo observation of the
... infiltration zone and the local host tissue responses at a preclinical stage are important for the development of more effective glioma treatments. Here, we report an animal model that allows high-contrast imaging of wild-type glioma cells by positron emission tomography (PET) using [18 F]PBR111, a selective radioligand for the mitochondrial 18 kDa Translocator Protein (TSPO), in the Tspo-/- mouse strain (C57BL/6-Tspotm1GuMu(GuwiyangWurra)). The high selectivity of [18 F]PBR111 for the TSPO combined with the exclusive expression of TSPO in glioma cells infiltrating into null-background host tissue free of any TSPO expression, makes it possible, for the first time, to unequivocally and with uniquely high biological contrast identify peri-tumoral glioma cell invasion at preclinical stages in vivo. Comparison of the in vivo imaging signal from wild-type glioma cells in a null background with the signal in a wild-type host tissue, where the tumour induces the expected TSPO expression in the host's glial cells, illustrates the substantial extent of the peritumoral host response to the growing tumour. The syngeneic tumour (TSPO+/+) in null background (TSPO-/-) model is thus well suited to study the interaction of the tumour front with the peri-tumoral tissue, and the experimental evaluation of new therapeutic approaches targeting the invasive behaviour of glioblastoma.