John A. Ronald1, Yuanxin Chen2, Kem A. Rogers2, William S. Kerwin3, Brian K. Rutt1
1Radiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States; 2Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada; 3Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States
Atherosclerotic plaques enriched in inflammatory cells and neovessels are prone to rupture, the life-threatening event underlying heart attacks and stroke. Here we performed the first successful bright-blood dynamic contrast enhanced MR imaging of rabbit atherosclerotic plaques that resemble mid-stage plaques in humans and show that the transfer constant, Ktrans, correlates well with histopathological measures of both macrophage (r=0.4438, p=0.011) and neovessel density (r=0.4186, p=0.027). This is an important extension of this technique, which through necessity has been proven useful for advanced human disease only, and holds promise for its use in assessing the effects of anti-angiogenic/anti-inflammatory therapies in earlier plaques.