Can a cysteine challenge assay predict the in vivo behavior of 99mTc-labeled antibodies?

D. J. Hnatowich, F. Virzi, M. Fogarasi, M. Rusckowski, P. Winnard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent investigations have shown that transchelation to cysteine is a principal mode of in vivo instability of 99mTc-labeled antibodies. In this investigation, a cysteine challenge assay was used to measure the in vitro instability of 99mTc directly labeled to two IgG antibodies (B72.3 and C110) via two established direct labeling methods employing mercaptoethanol and stannous ion for antibody reduction and by a novel method using glutathione for this purpose. For both antibodies, the greatest instability to cysteine occurred with stannous ion reduction. The stability of glutathione-reduced B72.3 was indistinguishable from mercaptoethanol-reduced B72.3 whereas glutathione-reduced C110 showed stability roughly intermediate between that of the other reducing agents for this antibody. Results obtained in normal mice were in the direction predicted by the assay: for both antibodies, urinary clearance of 99mTc was fastest in mice receiving antibodies labeled via stannous ion reduction, presumably because of the increased transchelation of label to cysteine in vivo. Urinary clearance was slower and identical in mice receiving B72.3 labeled via glutathione or mercaptoethanol whereas clearance in the case of glutathione-reduced C110 was intermediate between that of the other two reducing agents. At both time points, higher radioactivity levels were observed in kidneys and lower levels in blood and most other tissues for both antibodies in the case of stannous ion reduction as expected for the label of greatest instability. In the B72.3 case, with only one exception, tissue and blood levels following administration of glutathione-reduced antibody were indistinguishable from that following administration of mercaptoethanol-reduced antibody. In the C110 case, significant differences in activity levels were observed in several tissues between glutathione- and mercaptoethanol-reduced antibodies. In conclusion, the relative in vivo behaviour of 99mTc when administered to mice while labeled to two IgG antibodies were successfully predicted based on the results of an in vitro cysteine challenge assay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1035-1044
Number of pages10
JournalNuclear Medicine and Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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