Advancing 89Zr-immuno-PET in neuroscience with a bispecific anti-amyloid-beta monoclonal antibody – the choice of chelator is essential

Thomas E. Wuensche, Natascha Stergiou, Iris Mes, Mariska Verlaan, Maxime Schreurs, Esther J. M. Kooijman, Bart Janssen, Albert D. Windhorst, Allan Jensen, Ayodeji A. Asuni, Benny Bang-Andersen, Guus A. M. S. van Dongen, Wissam Beaino, Danielle J. Vugts

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8 Citations (Scopus)


The accelerated approval of the monoclonal antibody (mAb) aducanumab as a treatment option for Alzheimer’s Disease and the continued discussions about its efficacy have shown that a better understanding of immunotherapy for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases is needed. 89Zr-immuno-PET could be a suitable tool to open new avenues for the diagnosis of CNS disorders, monitoring disease progression, and assessment of novel therapeutics. Herein, three different 89Zr-labeling strategies and direct radioiodination with 125I of a bispecific anti-amyloid-beta aducanumab derivate, consisting of aducanumab with a C-terminal fused anti-transferrin receptor binding single chain Fab fragment derived from 8D3 (Adu-8D3), were compared ex vivo and in vivo with regard to brain uptake and target engagement in an APP/PS1 Alzheimer’s disease mouse model and wild type animals. Methods: Adu-8D3 and a negative control antibody, based on the HIV specific B12 antibody also carrying C-terminal fused 8D3 scFab (B12-8D3), were each conjugated with NCS-DFO, NCS-DFO*, or TFP-N-suc-DFO-Fe-ester, followed by radiolabeling with 89Zr. 125I was used as a substitute for 124I for labeling of both antibodies. 30 µg of radiolabeled mAb, corresponding to approximately 6 MBq 89Zr or 2.5 MBq 125I, were injected per mouse. PET imaging was performed 1, 3 and 7 days post injection (p.i.). All mice were sacrificed on day 7 p.i. and subjected to ex vivo biodistribution and brain autoradiography. Immunostaining on brain tissue was performed after autoradiography for further validation. Results: Ex vivo biodistribution revealed that the brain uptake of [ 89Zr]Zr-DFO*-NCS-Adu-8D3 (2.19 ±0.12 %ID/g) was as high as for its 125I-analog (2.21 ±0.15 %ID/g). [ 89Zr]Zr-DFO-NCS-Adu-8D3 and [ 89Zr]Zr-DFO-N-suc-Adu-8D3 showed significantly lower uptake (< 0.65 %ID/g), being in the same range as for the 89Zr-labeled controls (B12-8D3). Autoradiography of [ 89Zr]Zr-DFO*-NCS-Adu-8D3 and [ 125I]I-Adu-8D3 showed an amyloid-beta related granular uptake pattern of radioactivity. In contrast, the [ 89Zr]Zr-DFO-conjugates and the control antibody groups did not show any amyloid-beta related uptake pattern, indicating that DFO is inferior for 89Zr-immuno-PET imaging of the brain in comparison to DFO* for Adu-8D3. This was confirmed by day 7 PET images showing only amyloid-beta related brain uptake for [ 89Zr]Zr-DFO*-NCS-Adu-8D3. In wild type animals, such an uptake was not observed. Immunostaining showed a co-localization of all administered Adu-8D3 conjugates with amyloid-beta plaques. Conclusion: We successfully demonstrated that 89Zr-immuno-PET is suitable for imaging and quantifying amyloid-beta specific brain uptake using a bispecific aducanumab brain shuttling antibody, Adu-8D3, but only when using the novel chelator DFO*, and not DFO, for labeling with 89Zr.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7067-7079
Number of pages13
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Aducanumab
  • Amyloid-beta
  • DFO*
  • Transferrin receptor
  • Zr-immuno-PET

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