Li Dong1, William Sean Kerwin1, Chun Yuan1, Xue-Qiao Zhao1
1University of Washington,
We hypothesized that lipid-lowering therapy leads to biological changes in arterial walls that result in altered MRI contrast, even in the absence of a developed necrotic core. In a carotid MRI study of atorvastatin, 42 subjects exhibited no necrotic core. Within this group, no measurable change in wall thickness occurred over 3 years, but a highly significant (p<0.001) change in T2-weighted versus T1-weighted signal intensity was observed. Therefore, signal changes in the vessel wall may be more sensitive than plaque burden for measuring treatment effects in early lesions of atherosclerosis.