In Vivo Visualization and Quantification of Neutrophil Elastase in Lungs of COVID-19 Patients: A First-in-Humans PET Study with 11C-NES.

Antoni G, Lubberink M, Sörensen J, Lindström E, Elgland M, Eriksson O, Hultström M, Frithiof R, Wanhainen A, Sigfridsson J, Skorup P, Lipcsey M

Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine 64 (1) 145-148 [2023-01-00; online 2022-06-09]

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can cause life-threatening lung inflammation that is thought to be mediated by neutrophils. The aim of the present work was to evaluate a novel PET tracer for neutrophil elastase (NE). Methods: In this first-in-humans study, 4 patients with hypoxia due to COVID-19 and 2 healthy controls were investigated with PET using 11C-NES and 15O-water for visualization and quantification of NE and perfusion in the lungs, respectively. Results: 11C-NES accumulated selectively in lung areas with COVID-19 opacities on CT scans, suggesting high levels of NE there. In the same areas, perfusion was severely reduced in comparison to healthy lung tissue as measured with 15O-water. Conclusion: The data suggest that NE is associated with severe lung inflammation in COVID-19 patients and that inhibition of NE could potentially reduce the acute inflammatory process and improve the condition.

Olof Eriksson

SciLifeLab Fellow

PubMed 35680418

DOI 10.2967/jnumed.122.263974

Crossref 10.2967/jnumed.122.263974

pmc: PMC9841261
pii: jnumed.122.263974

Publications 9.5.0