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Technology Insight: targeting of biological molecules for evaluation of high-risk atherosclerotic plaques with magnetic resonance imaging

Abstract

Identification of high-risk atherosclerotic lesions prone to rupture and thrombosis may greatly decrease the morbidity and mortality associated with atherosclerosis. The development of magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents that specifically target components of the atherosclerotic plaque might enable non-invasive detection of high-risk lesions. This review discusses a variety of molecules present in atherosclerotic plaque that could serve as targets for specific contrast agents. Ultimately, such agents may allow the identification of high-risk atherosclerotic lesions in patients and enable treatment of these patients before lesion progression and complications.

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Figure 1: Potential biological targets in a high-risk atherosclerotic lesion that has ruptured at the shoulder
Figure 2: En-face preparations of Sudan-stained aortas
Figure 3: In vivo MR images and corresponding histopathological sections of atherosclerotic rabbit abdominal aorta
Figure 4: Blood flow in uninjured right and thrombosis-injured left common carotid artery of a guinea pig

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Acknowledgements

Marc Sirol helped with this paper and MR images. MJL received funding from Stanley J Sarnoff Endowment, and ZAF from NIH/NHLBI R01 HL71021 and HL078667.

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Correspondence to Zahi A Fayad.

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Lipinski, M., Fuster, V., Fisher, E. et al. Technology Insight: targeting of biological molecules for evaluation of high-risk atherosclerotic plaques with magnetic resonance imaging. Nat Rev Cardiol 1, 48–55 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1038/ncpcardio0013

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