Darwin S. Gao1,2, Mingqian Tan3, Jerry S. Cheung1,2, April M. Chow1,2, Shu Juan Fan1,2, Kannie W.Y. Chan1,2, Kwan Man4, Zheng-Rong Lu3, Ed X. Wu1,2
1Laboratory of Biomedical Imaging and Signal Processing, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China; 2Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China; 3Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, United States; 4Department of Surgery, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China
Liver fibrosis, associated with chronic liver injury, including hepatitis and alcohol intoxication, can progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. It is characterized by an increased amount of extracellular matrix consisting of fibril-forming collagens and matrix glycoconjugates such as fibronectin The fibrin-fibronectin complexes in fibrotic liver, resulted from cross-linkage between fibrin/fibrinogen and fibronectin, may serve as a specific molecular target for contrast-enhanced MRI. Our preliminary results demonstrated that a fibrin-fibronectin targeted Gd contrast agent provided distinct contrast enhancement in fibrotic liver, as compared with a non-targeted Gd contrast agent, in an experimental model.