Damage to peripheral nerves caused during a surgical intervention often results in function loss. Fluorescence imaging has the potential to improve intraoperative identification and preservation of these structures. However, only very few nerve targeting agents are available. This study describes the in vivo nerve staining capabilities of locally administered fluorescent lectin-analogues. To this end WGA, PNA, PHA-L and LEL were functionalized with Cy5 (lambda(ex) (max) 640 nm; lambda(em) (max) 680 nm). Transfer of these imaging agents along the sciatic nerve was evaluated in Thy1-YFP mice (n = 12) after intramuscular injection. Migration from the injection site was assessed in vivo using a laboratory fluorescence scanner and ex vivo via fluorescence confocal microscopy. All four lectins showed retrograde movement and staining of the epineurium with a signal-to-muscle ratio of around two. On average, the longest transfer distance was obtained with WGA-Cy5 (0.95 cm). Since WGA also gave minimal uptake in the lymphatic system, this lectin type revealed the highest potential as a migration imaging agent to visualize nerves.
- sentinel node
- immunohistochemical localization
- radical prostatectomy
- sulfate proteoglycan
- guided surgery