Molecular Ultrasound Imaging of Tissue Inflammation Using an Animal Model of Acute Kidney Injury

Kenneth Hoyt, Jason M. Warram, Dezhi Wang, Sithira Ratnayaka, Amie Traylor, Anupam Agarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of molecular ultrasound (US) imaging for monitoring the early inflammatory effects following acute kidney injury. Procedures: A population of rats underwent 30 min of renal ischemia (acute kidney injury, N = 6) or sham injury (N = 4) using established surgical methods. Animals were divided and molecular US imaging was performed during the bolus injection of a targeted microbubble (MB) contrast agent to either P-selectin or vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1). Imaging was performed before surgery and 4 and 24 h thereafter. After manual segmentation of renal tissue space, the molecular US signal was calculated as the difference between time-intensity curve data before MB injection and after reaching steady-state US image enhancement. All animals were terminated after the 24 h imaging time point and kidneys excised for immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis. Results: Renal inflammation was analyzed using molecular US imaging. While results using the P-selectin and VCAM-1 targeted MBs were comparable, it appears that the former was more sensitive to biomarker expression. All molecular US imaging measures had a positive correlation with IHC findings. Conclusions: Acute kidney injury is a serious disease in need of improved noninvasive methods to help diagnose the extent of injury and monitor the tissue throughout disease progression. Molecular US imaging appears well suited to address this challenge and more research is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-792
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Imaging and Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Contrast agent
  • Ischemia-reperfusion injury
  • Molecular imaging
  • Targeted microbubbles
  • Tissue inflammation
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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