Imaging Radiation-Induced Gastrointestinal, Bone Marrow Injury and Recovery Kinetics Using 18F-FDG PET

Tien T Tang, David A Rendon, Solmaz F Afshar, Caterina K Kaffes, Omaima M Sabek, M Waleed Gaber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Positron emission tomography using 18F-Fluro-deoxy-glucose (18F-FDG) is a useful tool to detect regions of inflammation in patients. We utilized this imaging technique to investigate the kinetics of gastrointestinal recovery after radiation exposure and the role of bone marrow in the recovery process. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were either sham irradiated, irradiated with their upper half body shielded (UHBS) at a dose of 7.5 Gy, or whole body irradiated (WBI) with 4 or 7.5 Gy. Animals were imaged using 18F-FDG PET/CT at 5, 10 and 35 days post-radiation exposure. The gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow were analyzed for 18F-FDG uptake. Tissue was collected at all-time points for histological analysis. Following 7.5 Gy irradiation, there was a significant increase in inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract as indicated by the significantly higher 18F-FDG uptake compared to sham. UHBS animals had a significantly higher activity compared to 7.5 Gy WBI at 5 days post-exposure. Animals that received 4 Gy WBI did not show any significant increase in uptake compared to sham. Analysis of the bone marrow showed a significant decrease of uptake in the 7.5 Gy animals 5 days post-irradiation, albeit not observed in the 4 Gy group. Interestingly, as the metabolic activity of the gastrointestinal tract returned to sham levels in UHBS animals it was accompanied by an increase in metabolic activity in the bone marrow. At 35 days post-exposure both gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow 18F-FDG uptake returned to sham levels. 18F-FDG imaging is a tool that can be used to study the inflammatory response of the gastrointestinal tract and changes in bone marrow metabolism caused by radiation exposure. The recovery of the gastrointestinal tract coincides with an increase in bone marrow metabolism in partially shielded animals. These findings further demonstrate the relationship between the gastrointestinal syndrome and bone marrow recovery, and that this interaction can be studied using non-invasive imaging modalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e0169082
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


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