We have labelled hypericin, a polyphenolic polycyclic quinone found in St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), with 123I and evaluated mono-[123I]iodohypericin (MIH) as a potential necrosis-avid diagnostic tracer agent.Methods
MIH was prepared by an electrophilic radioiodination method. The new tracer agent was evaluated in animal models of liver infarction in the rat and heart infarction in the rabbit using single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) histochemical staining, serial sectional autoradiography and microscopy, and radioactivity counting techniques.Results
Using in vivo SPECT imaging, hepatic and cardiac infarctions were persistently visualised as well-defined hot spots over 48 h. Preferential uptake of the tracer agent in necrotic tissue was confirmed by perfect match of images from post-mortem TTC staining, autoradiography (ARX) and histology. Radioactivity concentration in infarcted tissues was over 10 times (liver; 3.51% ID/g in necrotic tissue vs 0.38% ID/g in normal tissue at 60 h p.i.) and over 6 times (myocardium; 0.36% ID/g in necrotic tissue vs 0.054% ID/g in normal tissue; ratios up to 18 for selected parts on ARX images) higher than in normal tissues.Conclusion
The results suggest that hypericin derivatives may serve as powerful necrosis-avid diagnostic agents for assessment of tissue viability.