Uptake of the cationic compound hexakis(2-methoxyisobutylisonitrile)-technetium-99m ([99mTc]MIBI) was examined in nine human tumor cell lines. The concentration of [99mTc]MIBI after a 1-h incubation with the compound varies from 5 to 28% of the activity in the external medium. In contrast, normal V79 cells (Chinese hamster lung fibroblasts) and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells exhibit a minimal uptake of less than 2% of the activity in the medium. Kinetic experiments with SW-13 cells indicate a rapid uptake over time (t½ of 10 min) until a steady state is approached whose concentration appears directly correlated with the extracellular concentration of [99mTc]MIBI with no evidence of saturation over the range tested (10-12-10-9m). [99mTc]MIBI is taken up by a temperature dependent process that is restricted to living cells. Microautoradiography demonstrates that [99mTc]MIBI is clustered in the cytoplasm around the nucleus. Given that depolarizing the plasma membrane potential in high K+ buffer results in lowering the uptake of [99mTc]MIBI and that alteration of the mitochondrial membrane potential with valinomycin or nigericin induces, respectively, a significant decrease or increase of [99mTc]MIBI uptake, we propose that the plasma and mitochondrial membrane potentials play a major role in the uptake. These data suggest that the γ emitter [99mTc]MIBI exhibits interesting tumor cell interaction characteristics with promise for in vivo tumor imaging.


This work was supported by USPHS Grant 5 RO1 CA-34970 and Department of Energy Grant DE-FG02-86ER60460; by the Whitaker Health Science Fund; and by the RSNA Research and Education Fund.

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