Glenda Sibylle van Bochove1, Martijn L. Chatrou1, Leonie E. Paulis1, Holger Grll1,2, Gustav J. Strijkers1, Klaas Nicolay1
The purpose of this study was to image VCAM-1 expression in carotid artery lesions of apoE-/- mice, to compare the efficacy of a lipid-based paramagnetic and a lipid-based superparamagnetic contrast agent, and to relate contrast changes to plaque location. Paramagnetic liposomes and superparamagnetic micellar iron oxides targeted to VCAM-1 were prepared. Both contrast agents showed strong and specific accumulation in VCAM-1 over-expressing cells in vitro. In vivo targeting to mouse carotid artery atherosclerotic plaques was demonstrated. Contrast changes were most pronounced in the plaque shoulders, which are known to be most active in inflammatory cell recruitment.