Single-photon emission computed tomography combined with micro-CT (SPECT/μCT) imaging using Nanobodies against complement receptor of the Ig superfamily (CRIg), found on tissue macrophages such as synovial macrophages, has promising potential to visualize joint inflammation in experimental arthritis. Here, we further addressed the specificity and assessed the potential for arthritis monitoring. Signals obtained with 99mTc-labelled NbV4m119 Nanobody were compared in joints of wild type (WT) versus CRIg-/- mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) or K/BxN serum transfer-induced arthritis (STIA). In addition, SPECT/μCT imaging was used to investigate arthritis development in STIA and in CIA under dexamethasone treatment. 99mTc-NbV4m119 accumulated in inflamed joints of WT, but not CRIg-/- mice with CIA and STIA. Development and spontaneous recovery of symptoms in STIA was reflected in initially increased and subsequently reduced joint accumulation of 99mTc-NbV4m119. Dexamethasone treatment of CIA mice reduced 99mTc-NbV4m119 accumulation as compared to saline control in most joints except knees. SPECT/μCT imaging with 99mTc-NbV4m119 allows specific assessment of inflammation in different arthritis models and provides complementary information to clinical scoring for quantitatively and non-invasively monitoring the pathological process and the efficacy of arthritis treatment.
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