Quantifying multimodal contrast agent biological activity using near-infrared flow cytometry

Mary A. Hall, Melissa B. Aldrich, Ali Azhdarinia, Pier Anne Lachance, Holly Robinson, Amy Hazen, David L. Haviland, Eva M. Sevick-Muraca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Prior to imaging agent use in preclinical studies and clinical diagnostics, biological activity must be validated. The Lindmo assay has been used conventionally to quantify radiolabeled antibody (Ab) immunoreactivity, although published findings suggest it does not provide consistently accurate results. We developed and tested a near-infrared (NIR) flow cytometry (FC) method for quantifying biological activity of a dual-labeled Ab for use as a multimodal contrast agent in small animal and human positron emission tomography and NIR fluorescence imaging. Antibody specific for epithelial cell adhesion molecule was conjugated to DOTA-NHS-ester, labeled with IRDye 800CW and further labeled with 64Cu or nonradioactive Cu prior to reacting with human prostate cancer cells for testing by the Lindmo or FC method, respectively. Immunoreactivity of the dual-labeled agent was found to be 76.4±15.7% by the Lindmo assay. When tested with and without Cu labeling using NIR FC, the biological activity was found to be 73.1±7.7 and 79.4±8.1%, respectively. No significant differences were found between these activity levels (p>0.05), supporting NIR FC as an alternative method for measuring immunoreactivity and demonstrating that Cu labeling does not significantly affect the agent's ability to bind to its target. Biological activity was significantly reduced when the NIR dye-to-protein ratio was increased 3- to 4-fold in agent preparations when tested by FC and the Lindmo assay. In summary, NIR FC is an alternative with similar specificity and sensitivity, and greater reproducibility relative to the Lindmo assay for quantifying biological activity of NIR fluorophore-labeled, multimodal imaging agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-345
Number of pages8
JournalContrast Media and Molecular Imaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Antibody (Ab)
  • Epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)
  • Lindmo method
  • Monoclonal antibody (mAb)
  • Multimodal contrast agent
  • Multimodality imaging
  • Near-infrared (NIR)
  • Near-infrared flow cytometry (NIR FC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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