Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging disease that causes fever, enteritis, thrombocytopenia, and leucopenia and can be fatal in up to 30% of cases. However, the mechanism of severe disease is not fully understood. Molecular imaging approaches, such as positron-emission tomography (PET), are functional in vivo imaging techniques that provide real-time dynamics of disease progression, assessments of pharmacokinetics, and diagnoses for disease progression. Molecular imaging also potentially provides useful approaches to explore the pathogenesis of viral infections. Thus, the purpose of this study was to image the pathological features of SFTSV infection in vivo by PET imaging. In a mouse model, we showed that 18F-FDG accumulations clearly identified the intestinal tract site as a pathological site. We also demonstrated that 18F-FDG PET imaging can assess disease progression and response to antiserum therapy within the same individual. This is the first report demonstrating a molecular imaging strategy for SFTSV infection. Our results provide potentially useful information for preclinical studies such as the elucidation of the mechanism of SFTSV infection in vivo and the assessment of drugs for SFTS treatment.
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