Tc-99m-Human irrimunoglobulin G (Tc-99m-HIG) is a well-known radiopharmaceutical for the evaluation of inflammatory lesions. Recently, it has been demonstrated as a new agent for the visualization of the lymphatic system by our group. Our aim was to investigate the feasibility of detection of inflammatory lymph nodes by Tc-99m-HIG lymphoscintigraphy. Ten adult New Zealand rabbits were used as group A. In a baseline study, 37 MBq Tc-99m-HIG (0.1 ml) was injected into both hind legs of the rabbits, and sequential posterior gamma imaging with the rabbits lying prone was performed at 5, 15, 3 0, 60,90 and 120 min using a single-headed gamma camera (Toshiba GCA G01 E). One week later, microorganisms (Staphylococcus aureus) were injected in a volume of 0.1 ml intradermally into the web space between, the second and third toes in the bilateral hind legs of each rabbit in order to obtain inflammation in the popliteal lymph nodes. After 4 days, 37 MBq Tc-99m-HIG (0.1 ml) was injected into the hind legs of the rabbits bilaterally, and sequential posterior gamma imaging was performed as described above (second study). Another group of 10 adult New Zealand rabbits (group B) was injected with the same microorganisms in the right hind legs only. After 4 days, scintigraphic imaging was carried out in the same way as described above (third study). Regions of interest were drawn over the injection sites and popliteal lymph nodes on each image for semiquantitative analysis. Count rates for each were calculated and a decay correction was applied. Time-activity curves were generated to show the percentage retention of radioactivity in each region. After the scintigraphic study, some of the group B rabbits were killed by intravenous injection of pentobarbitone (100-150 mg.kg(-1), and both left and right lymph nodes were removed for microscopic examination. On the scintigrams, lymphatic channels and popliteal lymph nodes were visualized within 15 min. In the second study, bilateral popliteal lymph nodes were visualized more clearly than in the baseline study. The right popliteal lymph nodes of the rabbits were more clearly visualized in the third study. Semiquantitative analysis showed a higher percentage uptake of radioactivity in the right compared to the left popliteal lymph nodes in group B rabbits. Microscopic examination of the tissue sections demonstrated inflammation in the right lymph nodes of group B rabbits. In this preliminary study, it was found that Tc-99m-HIG is a new promising agent for the demonstration and evaluation of inflammatory lymph nodes. ((C) 2002 Lippincott Williams Wilkins).