Caspase-Based PET for Evaluating Pro-Apoptotic Treatments in a Tuberculosis Mouse Model

Alvaro A. Ordonez, Sudhanshu Abhishek, Alok K. Singh, Mariah H. Klunk, Babak Benham Azad, Eric O. Aboagye, Laurence Carroll, Sanjay K. Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Despite recent advances in antimicrobial treatments, tuberculosis (TB) remains a major global health threat. Mycobacterium tuberculosis proliferates in macrophages, preventing apoptosis by inducing anti-apoptotic proteins leading to necrosis of the infected cells. Necrosis then leads to increased tissue destruction, reducing the penetration of antimicrobials and immune cells to the areas where they are needed most. Pro-apoptotic drugs could be used as host-directed therapies in TB to improve antimicrobial treatments and patient outcomes. Procedure: We evaluated [18F]-ICMT-11, a caspase-3/7-specific positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer, in macrophage cell cultures and in an animal model of pulmonary TB that closely resembles human disease. Results: Cells infected with M. tuberculosis and treated with cisplatin accumulated [18F]-ICMT-11 at significantly higher levels compared with that of controls, which correlated with levels of caspase-3/7 activity. Infected mice treated with cisplatin with increased caspase-3/7 activity also had a higher [18F]-ICMT-11 PET signal compared with that of untreated infected animals. Conclusions: [18F]-ICMT-11 PET could be used as a noninvasive approach to measure intralesional pro-apoptotic responses in situ in pulmonary TB models and support the development of pro-apoptotic host-directed therapies for TB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1489-1494
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Imaging and Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Apoptosis
  • Caspase
  • Imaging
  • PET
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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