Expression of Translocator Protein and [18F]-GE180 Ligand Uptake in Multiple Sclerosis Animal Models

Nack, Anne; Brendel, Matthias; Nedelcu, Julia; Daerr, Markus; Nyamoya, Stella; Beyer, Cordian; Focke, Carola; Deussing, Maximilian; Hoornaert, Chloé; Ponsaerts, Peter; Schmitz, Christoph; Bartenstein, Peter; Rominger, Axel; Kipp, Markus (2019). Expression of Translocator Protein and [18F]-GE180 Ligand Uptake in Multiple Sclerosis Animal Models. Cells, 8(2) MDPI 10.3390/cells8020094

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Positron emission tomography (PET) ligands targeting the translocator protein (TSPO) represent promising tools to visualize neuroinflammation in multiple sclerosis (MS). Although it is known that TSPO is expressed in the outer mitochondria membrane, its cellular localization in the central nervous system under physiological and pathological conditions is not entirely clear. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of utilizing PET imaging with the TSPO tracer, [18F]-GE180, to detect histopathological changes during experimental demyelination, and to determine which cell types express TSPO. C57BL/6 mice were fed with cuprizone for up to 5 weeks to induce demyelination. Groups of mice were investigated by [18F]-GE180 PET imaging at week 5. Recruitment of peripheral immune cells was triggered by combining cuprizone intoxication with MOG35⁻55 immunization (i.e., Cup/EAE). Immunofluorescence double-labelling and transgene mice were used to determine which cell types express TSPO. [18F]-GE180-PET reliably detected the cuprizone-induced pathology in various white and grey matter regions, including the corpus callosum, cortex, hippocampus, thalamus and caudoputamen. Cuprizone-induced demyelination was paralleled by an increase in TSPO expression, glia activation and axonal injury. Most of the microglia and around one-third of the astrocytes expressed TSPO. TSPO expression induction was more severe in the white matter corpus callosum compared to the grey matter cortex. Although mitochondria accumulate at sites of focal axonal injury, these mitochondria do not express TSPO. In Cup/EAE mice, both microglia and recruited monocytes contribute to the TSPO expressing cell populations. These findings support the notion that TSPO is a valuable marker for the in vivo visualization and quantification of neuropathological changes in the MS brain. The pathological substrate of an increase in TSPO-ligand binding might be diverse including microglia activation, peripheral monocyte recruitment, or astrocytosis, but not axonal injury.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Clinic of Nuclear Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Rominger, Axel Oliver


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Sabine Lanz

Date Deposited:

12 Dec 2019 09:55

Last Modified:

07 May 2020 15:39

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

multiple sclerosis; PET; TSPO; cuprizone; neurodegeneration




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