Molecular imaging in atherosclerosis

Andor W. J. M. Glaudemans, Riemer H. J. A. Slart, Alessandro Bozzao, Elena Bonanno, Marcello Arca, Rudi A. J. O. Dierckx, Alberto Signore*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Atherosclerosis is the major cause of cardiovascular disease, which still has the leading position in morbidity and mortality in the Western world. Many risk factors and pathobiological processes are acting together in the development of atherosclerosis. This leads to different remodelling stages (positive and negative) which are both associated with plaque physiology and clinical presentation. The different remodelling stages of atherosclerosis are explained with their clinical relevance. Recent advances in basic science have established that atherosclerosis is not only a lipid storage disease, but that also inflammation has a fundamental role in all stages of the disease. The molecular events leading to atherosclerosis will be extensively reviewed and described. Further on in this review different modalities and their role in the different stages of atherosclerosis will be discussed. Non-nuclear invasive imaging techniques (intravascular ultrasound, intravascular MRI, intracoronary angioscopy and intravascular optical coherence tomography) and non-nuclear non-invasive imaging techniques (ultrasound with Doppler flow, electron-bean computed tomography, coronary computed tomography angiography, MRI and coronary artery MR angiography) will be reviewed. After that we focus on nuclear imaging techniques for detecting atherosclerotic plaques, divided into three groups: atherosclerotic lesion components, inflammation and thrombosis. This emerging area of nuclear imaging techniques can provide measures of biological activity of atherosclerotic plaques, thereby improving the prediction of clinical events. As we will see in the future perspectives, at present, there is no special tracer that can be called the diagnostic tool to diagnose prospective stroke or infarction in patients. Nevertheless, we expect such a tracer to be developed in the next few years and maybe, theoretically, it could even be used for targeted therapy (in the form of a beta-emitter) to combat cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2381-2397
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Volume37
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2010

Keywords

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Molecular imaging
  • PET
  • SPECT
  • NMR
  • CT
  • Vulnerable carotid plaques
  • OPTICAL COHERENCE TOMOGRAPHY
  • CORONARY-ARTERY-DISEASE
  • MULTIDETECTOR COMPUTED-TOMOGRAPHY
  • POSITRON-EMISSION-TOMOGRAPHY
  • COLONY-STIMULATING FACTOR
  • LOW-DENSITY-LIPOPROTEIN
  • INTIMA-MEDIA THICKNESS
  • FREQUENCY INTRAVASCULAR ULTRASOUND
  • HUMAN RECOMBINANT INTERLEUKIN-1
  • B-MODE ULTRASONOGRAPHY

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