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Abstract #0448

Assessment of atherosclerotic burden using a novel tropoelastin-specific MR contrast agent

Alkystis Phinikaridou1, Sara Lacerda1, Begoña L Plaza1, Marcelo Andia2, and René M Botnar1

1Biomedical Engineering, King's College London, London, United Kingdom, 2Radiology, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

The extracellular matrix protein (ECM) elastin contributes to 30% of the dry weight of the vascular wall. Vascular injury leads to de novo synthesis of tropoelastin molecules, the precursor of cross-linked mature elastin. Cross-linking has been shown to be inhibited in the presence of inflammation and low-density lipoproteins (LDL), both hallmarks of atherosclerosis and plaque instability. The accumulation of tropoelastin molecules in the pathologically altered vessel wall thus, may serve as a new imaging biomarker to detect atherosclerosis, and potentially plaque instability [1-4]. In this study, we developed a novel tropoelastin-specific MR contrast agent and investigated its merits to quantify disease progression in a murine model of accelerated of atherosclerosis.

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