Abstract 

Ocular angiogenesis is a blinding complication of age-related macular degeneration and other retinal vascular diseases. Clinical imaging approaches to detect inflammation prior to the onset of neovascularization in these diseases may enable early detection and timely therapeutic intervention. We demonstrate the feasibility of a previously developed cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) targeted molecular imaging probe, fluorocoxib A, for imaging retinal inflammation in a mouse model of laser-induced choroidal neovascularization. This imaging probe exhibited focal accumulation within laser-induced neovascular lesions, with minimal detection in proximal healthy tissue. The selectivity of the probe for COX-2 was validated in vitro and by in vivo retinal imaging with nontargeted 5-carboxy-X-rhodamine dye, and by blockade of the COX-2 active site with nonfluorescent celecoxib prior to injection of fluorocoxib A. Fluorocoxib A can be utilized for imaging COX-2 expression in vivo for further validation as an imaging biomarker in retinal diseases.