3 years ago

Detection of colonic dysplasia in patients with ulcerative colitis using a targeted fluorescent peptide and confocal laser endomicroscopy: A pilot study

Fatima Domenica Elisa De Palma, Pietro Schettino, Gaetano Luglio, Giovanni Sarnelli, Francesco Salvatore, Giovanni Domenico De Palma, Francesco Maione, Gerardo Zambrano, Antonio Rispo, Irene Colavita, Valeria D’Argenio, Francesco Paolo D’Armiento, Mariano Cesare Giglio

by Giovanni Domenico De Palma, Irene Colavita, Gerardo Zambrano, Mariano Cesare Giglio, Francesco Maione, Gaetano Luglio, Giovanni Sarnelli, Antonio Rispo, Pietro Schettino, Francesco Paolo D’Armiento, Fatima Domenica Elisa De Palma, Valeria D’Argenio, Francesco Salvatore


Targeted molecular probes have been used to detect sporadic colonic dysplasia during confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) with promising results. This is a feasibility pilot study aiming to assess the potential role of CLE combined with a fluorescent-labeled peptide to stain and detect dysplasia associated with Ulcerative Colitis.


A phage-derived heptapeptide with predicted high binding affinity for dysplastic tissue, was synthesized and labeled with fluorescein. Eleven lesions with suspected dysplasia at endoscopy were excised from nine patients with long-standing ulcerative colitis. Specimens were sprayed with the peptide and examined by CLE. The CLE images were then compared to the corresponding histological sections.


At definitive histology, 4 lesions were diagnosed as inflammatory polyps, 6 as dysplastic lesions and one as invasive cancer. In inflammatory polyps, the fluorescence signal came from peri-cryptal spaces and crypt lumen due to passive accumulation of the peptide in these areas. Dysplasia was associated with active binding of the peptide to dysplastic colonocytes.


Ex vivo staining of ulcerative colitis-associated dysplasia using a fluorescent labeled molecular probe and CLE is feasible. In vivo studies on larger populations are required to evaluate the safety and the effective contribution of molecular probes in cancer surveillance of ulcerative colitis.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180509

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