Ning Hua1, Fred Baik2, Tuan Pham1, Nick Giordano1, Alkystis Phinikaridou1, Michael Whitney2, Quyen Nguyen2, Roger Tsien2, James Hamilton1
1Boston University, Boston, MA, United States; 2University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA, United States
Although atherosclerotic plaques frequently remain asymptomatic, sudden disruption of vulnerable plaques(VP) and subsequent thrombosis can be fatal in humans. As part of our research efforts to identify vulnerable plaques prior to acute events, we have combined in vivo MRI and ex vivo optical imaging in a rabbit model of atherothrombosis. Vulnerable features (positive remodeling from in vivo MRI and histology) showed significantly higher uptake of fluorescence probes targeting matrix metalloproteinase (MMP2/9) and thrombin as assessed by ex vivo optical imaging. This is the first validation of a targeted probe for detecting VP in an animal model of controlled plaque disruption.