Arch Hellen Med, 17(4), July-August 2000, 371-376
The imaging of apoptotic death
A. ZANGLIS, E. HOUSSIANAKOU
Laboratory of Nuclear Medicine, “Evangelismos” General Hospital, Athens, Greece
In multicellular organisms cell homeostasis is maintained by a balance between cell proliferation and cell death. Physiologic cell death occurs primarily through an evolutionarily conserved form of cell suicide named apoptosis. The decision of a cell to undergo apoptosis is influenced by a wide variety of regulatory stimuli, with the central role being reserved for the mitochondria. The externalization of phosphatidylserine which occurs early in the apoptotic process can be used as a target for the detection of cells committed to die via an apoptotic death. Annexin V, a putative human protein, binds strongly to the externalized phosphatidylserine. The HYNIC derivative of annexin V, labeled with 99mTc, is the basis of a radiopharmaceutical (Apomate®) which is capable of in vivo imaging of various pathogenetic processes characterized by increased induction of apoptotic death. A range of disease processes including cancer, autoimmune disease, transplant rejection, viral disease and neurodegenerative disorders can now be imaged for apoptosis and their treatment response amenable to an early assessment can be accordingly adjusted or modified, with a view to a better patient outcome.
Key words: Apoptosis, HYNIC-annexin, Phosphatidylserine.