News | PET-CT | November 01, 2016

Optical and PET/CT Probes Detect Early Signs of Atherosclerosis

The activity-based probes image the vascular inflammation involved in plaque formation

PET/CT, atherosclerotic plaque detection, Stanford University

Application of dual-modality optical and PET/CT activity-based probe in experimental carotid inflammation model. Coronal noninvasive PET/CT scans of (A) healthy and (B) diseased mice with and without ligated carotid arteries respectively. Inset images show optical ex vivo florescence imagining of (A) healthy and (B) diseased carotid arteries.  PET/CT and optical images courtesy of Xiaowei Ma, Toshinobu Saito and Nimali Withana.


November 1, 2016 — Researchers at Stanford University have demonstrated for the first time the use of a dual optical and positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) activity-based probe to detect atherosclerotic plaques. The study is published in the October issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Atherosclerosis is largely an asymptomatic disease where plaques develop over decades and symptoms do not appear until greater than 70 percent of a vessel is occluded. This results in significant risk of severe cardiovascular events such as stroke or myocardial infractions, highlighting the need for early, non-invasive diagnosis of the disease.

Matthew Bogyo, Ph.D., one of the lead authors of the study explained, “This collaborative study with Zhen Cheng, Ph.D., and Michael McConnell, M.D., provides evidence that these probes have potential benefits for non-invasive imaging of atherosclerotic plaque inflammation, potentially leading to the application of this probe in the clinic to help identify patients at high risk of developing premature atherosclerosis.”

Macrophages are cellular mediators of vascular inflammation and are involved in the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. These immune cells secrete proteases such as matrix metalloproteinases and cathepsins that contribute to disease formation and progression. In this study, activity-based probes (ABPs) targeting cysteine cathepsins were used in mouse models of atherosclerosis to non-invasively image activated macrophage populations using both optical and PET/CT methods. The probes were also used to topically label human carotid plaques, demonstrating similar specific labeling of activated macrophage populations. 

The study demonstrates that ABPs targeting the cysteine cathepsins offer a rapid, non-invasive way to image atherosclerotic disease progression and plaque vulnerability.

Bogyo noted, “What’s novel about this is the fact that these probes provide accurate detection of lesions undergoing high levels of inflammatory activity and extracellular matrix remodeling. They not only enable early disease detection, they can provide real-time monitoring of therapeutic responses and clinical drug efficacy.”

He sees broader uses for the probes in the future. “The probes show efficacy in a variety of imaging modalities, including fluorescence, PET/CT, and topical application of the probe to fresh frozen murine and human tissue sections. These tools further demonstrate that the future of molecular imaging and nuclear medicine will be focused on agents that allow specific targeting of disease-associated proteins or markers that allow monitoring of disease onset, progress and response to therapeutic agents,” he said.

For more information: www.jnm.snmjournals.org

Related Content

News | Cardiac Imaging

June 24, 2022 — The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) reports that Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) scoring with ...

Home June 24, 2022
Home
News | Cardiac Imaging

June 23, 2022 — New research from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai shows for the first time that the path ...

Home June 23, 2022
Home
News | Cardiac Imaging

May 2, 2022 — According to ARRS’ American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), routine visual ordinal coronary artery calcium ...

Home May 02, 2022
Home
News | Cardiac Imaging

April 11, 2022 — Radiation to the heart during treatment for locally advanced lung cancer is associated with an ...

Home April 11, 2022
Home
News | Cardiac Imaging
February 21, 2022 – Acute coronary syndromes (such as heart attacks) and strokes are a leading cause of morbidity and ...
Home February 21, 2022
Home
News | Cardiac Imaging
February 21, 2022 – Researchers at Michigan Medicine have found a novel method of measuring growth in the body’s largest ...
Home February 21, 2022
Home
News | Cardiac Imaging

February 18, 2022 — GE Healthcare has announced that it has received approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) ...

Home February 18, 2022
Home
Videos | Cardiac Imaging

Interview with Campbell Rogers, M.D., chief medical officer of HeartFlow which has developed a CT image-based fractional ...

Home February 01, 2022
Home
Videos | Cardiac Imaging

American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) President Dennis Calnon, M.D., MASNC, FASE, FSCCT, director of cardiac ...

Home February 01, 2022
Home
Subscribe Now