Alkystis Phinikaridou1, Kevin J. Hallock2, Ye Qiao1, James A. Hamilton1
1Physiology and Biophysics, Boston University Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; 2Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
We combined gadolinium-enhanced in vivo and ex vivo magnetization transfer (MT) and diffusion weighted (DW) MRI to study thrombus formation associated with vulnerable plaques in rabbits. We found that: (i) thrombi propagate parallel and anti-parallel to blood flow from the site of plaque disruption, (ii) in vivo use of Gd-DTPA distinguished the thrombus from the underlying plaque, (iii) ex vivo MT and DW imaging detected changes in thrombus composition during propagation. As thrombi propagate they become enriched in fibrin and circulating blood cells resulting in increased % MT ratio and decreased apparent diffusion coefficient.