Copper-64-Diacetyl-bis(N4-methylthiosemicarbazone) [64Cu][Cu(ATSM)] is a hypoxia-targeting PET tracer with applications in oncology and cardiology. Upon entering a hypoxic cell, [64Cu][Cu(II)(ATSM)] is reduced to a putative [64Cu][Cu(I)(ATSM)] species which dissociates to deposit radiocopper, thereby providing hypoxic contrast. This process may be dependent upon protonation arising from intracellular acidosis. Since acidosis is a hallmark of ischemic tissue and tumors, the hypoxia specificity of [64Cu][Cu(ATSM)] may be confounded by changes in intracellular pH. We have therefore determined the influence of intracellular pH on [64Cu][Cu(ATSM)] pharmacokinetics. Using isolated perfused rat hearts, acidosis was induced using an ammonium pre-pulse method, with and without hypoxic buffer perfusion. Cardiac [64Cu][Cu(ATSM)] pharmacokinetics were determined using NaI detectors, with intracellular pH and cardiac energetics monitored in parallel by 31P NMR. To distinguish direct acidotic effects on tracer pharmacokinetics from acidosis-induced hypocontractility, parallel studies used lidocaine perfusion to abolish cardiac contraction. Hypoxic myocardium trapped [64Cu][Cu(ATSM)] despite no evidence of it being acidotic when characterised by 31P NMR. Independent induction of tissue acidosis had no direct effect on [64Cu][Cu(ATSM)] pharmacokinetics in either normoxic or hypoxic hearts, beyond decreasing cardiac oxygen consumption to alleviate hypoxia and decrease tracer retention, leading us to conclude that tissue acidosis does not mediate the hypoxia selectivity of [64Cu][Cu(ATSM)].

Original languageEnglish
Article number499
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2019


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