The acute rejection of cardiac allografts is currently diagnosed by the presence of myocyte necrosis on endomyocardial biopsy. We evaluated the efficacy of noninvasive scintigraphic imaging with indium-111-labeled anticardiac myosin Fab fragments (indium-111 anti-myosin) to detect and quantify cardiac allograft rejection. Six dogs that had intrathoracic heterotopic cardiac allograft transplantation were injected with indium-111 anti-myosin and planar and single photon emission computed tomographic (SPECT) images were obtained in various stages of acute and subacute rejection. Four dogs had an allograft older than 8 months and had been on long-term immunosuppressive therapy; two dogs had an allograft less than 2 weeks old and were not on immunosuppressive therapy. Count ratios comparing heterotopic with native hearts were calculated from both SPECT images and in vitro scans of excised and sectioned hearts and were compared with the degree of rejection scored by an independent histopathologic review. Indium-111 antimyosin uptake was not visible in planar or SPECT images of native hearts. Faint diffuse uptake was apparent in cardiac allografts during long-term immunosuppression and intense radioactivity was present in hearts with electrocardiographic evidence of rejection. The heterotopic to native heart count ratios in SPECT images correlated significantly with the count ratios in the excised hearts (r = 0.93) and with the histopathologic rejection score (r = 0.97). The distribution of indium-111 antimyosin activity in right and left ventricles corresponded to areas of histopathologic abnormalities. Immunoperoxidase studies showed deposition of indium-111 antimyosin only in areas of myocyte necrosis. The results demonstrate that indium-111 antimyosin imaging can noninvasively detect the presence, location and severity of canine cardiac allograft rejection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine