Fabian Meixner1, Constantin von Zur Mhlen2, Dominik Paul1, Irene Neudorfer2, Annette Merkle1, Mirko Meissner1, Christoph Bode2, Jrgen Hennig1, Dominik von Elverfeldt1
1Department of Radiology, University Medical Center Freiburg, Freiburg, Baden-Wrttemberg, Germany; 2Department of Cardiology & Angiology, University Medical Center Freiburg
Platelets play an important role in the rupture of atherosclerotic plaques. So far with imaging techniques like MRI/CT and coronary angiography, only the degree of atherosclerotic narrowing, but not the stage, and thus the potential risk of arterial wall changes can be observed. It would be an important advance in the diagnosis, to identify late stages of atherosclerosis to initiate early treatment measures. In this study, the imaging of activated platelets in symptomatic human atherosclerotic carotid plaques with a 9.4 Tesla MRI is under investigation. The contrast agent is a single-chain antibody (LIBS) to the activated form of GPIIb/IIIa receptor which is coupled to a micro-particle of iron oxide (MPIO). The contrast agent (LIBS-MPIO) binds to activated platelets attached to the endothelium of the carotid interna plaques and results in signal loss on MRI.