Oligonucleotides radiolabeled with isotopes emitting γ-rays (for SPECT imaging) or positrons (for PET imaging) can be useful for targeting messenger RNA (mRNA) thereby serving as non-invasive imaging tools for detection of gene expression in vivo (antisense imaging). Radiolabeled oligonucleotides may also be used for monitoring their in vivo fate, thereby helping us better understand the challenges to its delivery for antisense targeting. These developments have led to a new area of molecular imaging and targeting, utilizing radiolabeled antisense oligonucleotides. However, the success of antisense imaging relies heavily on overcoming the challenges for its targeted delivery in vivo. Furthermore, the low ability of the radiolabeled antisense oligonucleotide to subsequently internalize into the cell and hybridize with its target mRNA poses additional challenges in realizing its potentials. This review covers the advances in the antisense imaging probe development for PET and SPECT, with an emphasis on radiolabeling strategies, stability, delivery and in vivo targeting.
Keywords: Antisense imaging, antisense therapy, molecular imaging, mRNA, SPECT, PET, radiopharmaceuticals, Radiolabeled oligonucleotides, invasive imaging tools, hybridize
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