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in vitro, ex vivo and Non Invasive in vivo fluorescence imaging of Wheat Germ Agglutinin Binding.

Dr. Rao V. L. Papineni* Dr. Scott Welnitz, Dr. Robia Pautler, Dr. Daniel H. Kim and Dr. Steen Pedersen.

Interoperative florescence imaging during image guided surgery requires selective and sensitive molecular probes to distinguish both the target of interest and the nearby vital tissues such as nerves from its inadvertent damage during surgery. Glycans have the potential to be used as a molecular target in the vital organs due to their abundance and they can be specifically detected by lectins. Histochemical screens were used on a panel of fluorescently conjugated lectins to identify potential nerve tissue contrast agents. FITC labeled wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) bound to the nerve sections in vitro, with high specificity, and showed specific binding to certain subsets of nerves in surgically excised sections of mice. WGA binds to N-acetyl-D-glucosamine and sialic acid molecules that are abundant in tissues such as cartilage. We evaluated the potential of using near-infrared (NIR) dye conjugated WGA as an in vivo molecular targeting agent. Non invasive imaging of athymic nude mice was performed using near-infrared (NIR) dye conjugated wheat germ agglutinin (100 l 1mg/ml). We show significant binding of NIR fluorescent WGA at kidneys and the vertebrae. The binding and targeting was confirmed by ex vivo imaging. Lectins like WGA, a general constituent of our diet, have good potential for being a localized florescent contrast agent in image guided surgery and as an in vivo targeting agent. Collaborative Project of Carestream Health Inc & Departments of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Neurosurgery, of Baylor College of Medicine. "Molecular Imaging - Wisdom To See For Maladies To Flee" Dr. Rao V. L. Papineni