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PEGylated Peptide-Based Imaging Agents for Targeted Molecular Imaging

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 6 ]


Huizi Wu and Jiaguo Huang   Pages 582 - 595 ( 14 )


Molecular imaging is able to directly visualize targets and characterize cellular pathways with a high signal/background ratio, which requires a sufficient amount of agents to uptake and accumulate in the imaging area. The design and development of peptide based agents for imaging and diagnosis as a hot and promising research topic that is booming in the field of molecular imaging. To date, selected peptides have been increasingly developed as agents by coupling with different imaging moieties (such as radiometals and fluorophore) with the help of sophisticated chemical techniques. Although a few successes have been achieved, most of them have failed mainly caused by their fast renal clearance and therefore low tumor uptakes, which may limit the effectively tumor retention effect. Besides, several peptide agents based on nanoparticles have also been developed for medical diagnostics. However, a great majority of those agents shown long circulation times and accumulation over time into the reticuloendothelial system (RES; including spleen, liver, lymph nodes and bone marrow) after systematic administration, such long-term severe accumulation probably results in the possible likelihood of toxicity and potentially induces health hazards. Recently reported design criteria have been proposed not only to enhance binding affinity in tumor region with long retention, but also to improve clearance from the body in a reasonable amount of time. PEGylation has been considered as one of the most successful modification methods to prolong tumor retention and improve the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties for peptide-based imaging agents. This review summarizes an overview of PEGylated peptides imaging agents based on different imaging moieties including radioisotopes, fluorophores, and nanoparticles. The unique concepts and applications of various PEGylated peptide-based imaging agents are introduced for each of several imaging moieties. Effects of PEGylation on their target capability, clearance kinetics and metabolic stability are depicted. Problems and issues relating to the pharmacokinetic and optimization design of peptide-based imaging agents are also discussed.


Molecular imaging, imaging agents, peptide, polyethylene glycol, tumor target, renal clearance.


Medical Research Centre, Medical Faculty Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer 1-3, 68167 Mannheim, Germany.

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