Evaluation of Matrix Metalloproteinases in Atherosclerosis Using a Novel Noninvasive Imaging Approach

Molecular imaging is a promising modality for assessment of atherosclerotic plaque composition. It may enable the detection of biological markers whose expression is directly related to the pathophysiological status of the lesions. Recently, MRI has been used to assess activated plaques by detecting human macrophages with ultra-small superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide (Sinerem®), rabbit angiogenesis with AlphaVbeta targeting nanoparticles, rabbit thrombosis with a fibrin-binding contrast agent (EP- 1873), and murine macrophages with scavenger receptortargeted immunomicelles. Finally, apoptotic plaque macrophages were visualized with [99mTc]-labeled annexin V in carotid arteries of symptomatic patients.

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