Potential of 99mTc-MIBI SPECT imaging for evaluating non-alcoholic steatohepatitis induced by methionine-choline-deficient diet in mice

Takemi Rokugawa, Tomoya Uehara, Yusuke Higaki, Shuuichi Matsushima, Atsushi Obata, Yasushi Arano, Kohji Abe

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hepatic mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in pathological conditions leading to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Technetium-99 m-2-methoxyisobutyl-isonitrile (99mTc-MIBI), a lipophilic cationic myocardial perfusion agent, is retained in the mitochondria depending on membrane potential. The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of 99mTc-MIBI for evaluating the hepatic mitochondrial dysfunction induced by methionine-choline-deficient (MCD) diet in mice. Methods: Male C57Black6J/jcl mice were fed a MCD diet for up to 4 weeks. SPECT scan (N =6) with 99mTc-MIBI was performed at 2 and 4 weeks after MCD diet. Mice were imaged with small-animal SPECT/CT under isoflurane anesthesia. Radioactivity concentrations of the liver were measured, and the time of maximum (Tmax) and the elimination half-life (T1/2) were evaluated. After SPECT scan, liver histopathology was analyzed to evaluate steatosis and inflammation. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) activity score was obtained from the histological score of hepatic steatosis and inflammation. Blood biochemistry and hepatic ATP content were also measured (N =5 to 6). Results: Plasma alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels were significantly elevated at 2 and 4 weeks after MCD diet. A decrease in hepatic ATP content was also observed in MCD-fed mice. 99mTc-MIBI SPECT imaging clearly showed the decrease of hepatic 99mTc-MIBI retention in MCD-fed mice compared to control mice. T1/2 after 99mTc-MIBI injection was significantly decreased in the liver of MCD-fed mice (control, MCD 2 weeks, and MCD 4 weeks, T1/2 = 57.6, 37.6, and 19.8 min, respectively), although no change in Tmax was observed in MCD-fed mice. SPECT data and histological score showed that the negative correlation (r = −0.74, p <0.05) between T1/2 and NAFLD activity score was significant. Conclusions: Hepatic 99mTc-MIBI elimination was increased with increase in NAFLD activity score (NAS) in mice fed MCD diet for 2 and 4 weeks. These results suggest that 99mTc-MIBI SPECT imaging might be useful for detecting hepatic mitochondrial dysfunction induced by steatosis and inflammation such as NAFLD or NASH.

Original languageEnglish
Article number57
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • MCD diet
  • Mice
  • NASH
  • Tc-MIBI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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