In vivo type 2 cannabinoid receptor-targeted tumor optical imaging using a near infrared fluorescent probe.

Zhang S, Shao P, Bai M
Bioconjug Chem. 2013 24 (11): 1907-16

PMID: 24094147 · PMCID: PMC4177906 · DOI:10.1021/bc400328m

The type 2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2R) plays a vital role in carcinogenesis and progression and is emerging as a therapeutic target for cancers. However, the exact role of CB2R in cancer progression and therapy remains unclear. This has driven the increasing efforts to study CB2R and cancers using molecular imaging tools. In addition, many types of cancers overexpress CB2R, and the expression levels of CB2R appear to be associated with tumor aggressiveness. Such upregulation of the receptor in cancer cells provides opportunities for CB2R-targeted imaging with high contrast and for therapy with low side effects. In the present study, we report the first in vivo tumor-targeted optical imaging using a novel CB2R-targeted near-infrared probe. In vitro cell fluorescent imaging and a competitive binding assay indicated specific binding of NIR760-mbc94 to CB2R in CB2-mid delayed brain tumor (DBT) cells. NIR760-mbc94 also preferentially labeled CB2-mid DBT tumors in vivo, with a 3.7-fold tumor-to-normal contrast enhancement at 72 h postinjection, whereas the fluorescence signal from the tumors of the mice treated with NIR760 free dye was nearly at the background level at the same time point. SR144528, a CB2R competitor, significantly inhibited tumor uptake of NIR760-mbc94, indicating that NIR760-mbc94 binds to CB2R specifically. In summary, NIR760-mbc94 specifically binds to CB2R in vitro and in vivo and appears to be a promising molecular tool that may have great potential for use in diagnostic imaging of CB2R-positive cancers and therapeutic monitoring as well as in elucidating the role of CB2R in cancer progression and therapy.

MeSH Terms (14)

Animals Cell Line, Tumor Cell Survival Fluorescent Dyes Infrared Rays Mice Molecular Imaging Molecular Structure Neoplasms Norbornanes Optical Imaging Pyrazoles Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 Substrate Specificity

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