Imaging of thrombi with tissue-type plasminogen activator rendered enzymatically inactive and conjugated to a residualizing label

John M. Ord, Joseph Hasapes, Alan Daugherty, Suzanne R. Thorpe, Steven R. Bergmann, Burton E. Sobel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background. Contemporary cardiovascular practice relies increasingly on thrombolysis as a therapeutic modality. Its optimal use requires prompt, noninvasive delineation of thrombotic occlusion in arterial beds and rapid detection of reocclusion after initially successful thrombolysis. Methods and Results. We have been developing an approach to noninvasively image thrombi in which plasminogen-activating properties of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) are attenuated by treatment with D-Phe-L-Pro-L-Arg-chloromethyl ketone (PPACK) and have shown that the inactive t-PA avidly and promptly binds to clots in vitro. In the present study, we conjugated this material to a residualizing label, radioiodinated dilactitol tyramine (*I-DLT), and characterized the potential use of the inactivated, conjugated t-PA as a radiopharmaceutical for imaging thrombi in vivo. The approach developed requires not only avid binding of the tracer to thrombi but also rapid clearance from plasma and a lack of prompt release of radiolabeled degradation products from the liver. The rapid clearance of unaltered or PPACK-treated t-PA was not influenced by conjugation to *I-DLT, but the release of radioiodinated degradation products into plasma after injection of *I-DLT-conjugated t-PA was markedly less than release of degradation products of directly radioiodinated t-PA. When 131I-DLT-PPACK-t-PA was infused for 15 minutes intravenously after a bolus injection of 20% in dogs with coronary, pulmonary, or carotid artery thrombi, clearance was rapid. Mean±SEM thrombus-to-blood ratios of radioactivity were high, ranging from 37±9:1 and 2.8±0.6:1 with carotid thrombi formed concomitantly or approximately 30 minutes before infusion of tracer, respectively, to 35:1 for concomitantly formed coronary thrombi, 42±7:1 and 8.1±0.8:1 for concomitantly formed and preformed pulmonary thrombi, respectively, and 18:1 for a preformed femoral artery thrombus. Thrombi were detectable by planar gamma scintigraphy even though image quality was affected adversely by low concentrations of radioactivity that in aggregate composed a relatively large amount of radioactivity in underlying and overlying tissues. This limitation was overcome by tomographic imaging, which was used to detect both femoral and pulmonary thrombi. Conclusions. Use of enzymatically inactivated t-PA coupled to a residualizing label permits rapid detection and localization of thrombi in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-297
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992


  • Radioiodinated dilactitol tyramine
  • Single-photon emission computed tomography
  • Thrombolysis
  • Tissue-type plasminogen activator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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