David C. Zhu1, Kheireddine El-Boubbou2, George S. Abela3, Ruiping Huang3, Medha Kamat2, Xuefei Huang2
1Radiology & Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, United States; 2Chemistry, Michigan State University; 3Medicine, Michigan State University
Atherosclerotic plaques are formed through the accumulation of macrophages, lipids, and fibrous connective tissue underneath the endothelium lining in arterial walls. CD44 is a cell surface receptor at macrophages which tend to accumulate at atherosclerotic plaques. In this work, hyaluronic acid (HA) was bonded to dextran coated SPIO nanoparticles (DESPIONs). The synthesized HA-DESPIONs were used to target CD44 at macrophages and were able to highlight atherosclerotic plaques in MRI. With HA-DESPION as an example, here we summarize our molecular imaging strategy of a rabbit model on a human clinical scanner.