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Abstract #0778

Tropoelastin: A novel marker for atherosclerotic plaque instability

Alkystis Phinikaridou1, Sara Lacerda2, Begoña Lavin1, Marcelo Andia3, Alberto Smith4, Prakash Saha4, and René M Botnar1

1Biomedical Engineering, King's College London, London, United Kingdom, 2Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire, CNRS, Orleans, France, 3Radiology, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, 4Academic Department of Vascular Surgery, King's College London, London, United Kingdom

Elastolysis and ineffective elastogenesis favour the accumulation of tropoelastin, rather than cross-linked elastin, in atherosclerotic plaques and could provide a new marker for plaque progression and instability. We developed a novel tropoelastin-binding gadolinium-based MRI contrast agent and demonstrated the feasibility of molecular imaging of tropoelastin in rabbits. Rupture-prone plaques had significantly higher uptake of the contrast agent compared with stable plaques and quantitive assessment of tropoelastin allowed detection of rupture-prone plaques with high sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values. Ex vivo analyses confirmed the MRI findings and showed that uptake of the contrast agent was specific for tropoelastin.

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