Brigit den Adel1, Carmen Burtea2, Sophie Laurent2, Ernst Suidgeest3, Robert E. Poelmann1, Robert N. Muller2, Louise van der Weerd3, 4
1Anatomy & Embryology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands; 2Universit de Mons-Hainaut, Mons, Belgium; 3Radiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands; 4Human Genetics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands
We identified a highly specific peptide with nanomolar affinity for human VCAM-1. High resolution MRI performed 1.5 hours after i.v. injection of VCAM-1 targeted USPIOs in aged ApoE-/- mice with advanced plaques showed enhanced uptake of the contrast agent. Young ApoE-/- mice with a collar around the carotid artery, showed an increased uptake of the iron particles, particularly in early plaque stages when VCAM-1 expression is highest. Histology showed co-localisation of VCAM-1 positive endothelial cells and iron deposits in the vessel wall.