Marlies Oostendorp1, Kim Douma1, Allard Wagenaar1, Jos MGM Slenter1, Tilman M. Hackeng1, Marc AMJ van Zandvoort1, Mark J. Post1, Walter H. Backes1
1Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+), Maastricht, Netherlands
Here, a molecular MRI method is presented to non-invasively image angiogenic activity in vivo in a murine model of myocardial infarction using cyclic cNGR-labeled paramagnetic quantum dots (pQDs). The tripeptide cNGR homes specifically to CD13, an aminopeptidase that is strongly upregulated during myocardial angiogenesis. cNGR-QDs allowed specific detection of post-infarction myocardial angiogenesis, as shown by the strong contrast observed in the infarcted mouse heart on molecular MRI, and by the colocalization of cNGR-pQDs with vascular endothelial cells as detected by fluorescence microscopy.