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American Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (1)
Saji, Hideo (1)
Temma, Takashi (1)
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Radiolabelled probes for imaging of atherosclerotic plaques
American Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Unstable atherosclerotic plaques are prone to rupture followed by thrombus formation, vessel stenosis, and occlusion and frequently lead to acute myocardial infarction and brain infarction. As such, unstable plaques represent an important diagnostic target in clinical settings and the specific diagnosis of unstable plaques would enable preventive treatments for cardiovascular disease. To date, various imaging methods such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound (US), and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) have been widely used clinically. Although these methods have advantages in terms of spatial resolution and the ability to make detailed identification of morphological alterations such as calcifications and vessel stenosis, these techniques require skill or expertise to discriminate plaque instability, which is essential for early diagnosis and treatment and can present difficulties for quantitative estimation. On the other hand, nuclear imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) can noninvasively collect quantitative information on the expression levels of functional molecules and metabolic activities in vivo and thus provide functional diagnoses of unstable plaques with high sensitivity. Specifically, unstable plaques are characterized by an abundance of invasive inflammatory cells (macrophages), increased oxidative stress that increases oxidized LDL and its receptor expressed on cells in the lesions, increased occurrence of apoptosis of macrophages and other cells involved in disease progression, increased protease expression and activity, and finally thrombus formation triggered by plaque rupture, which is the most important mechanism leading to the onset of infarctions and ischemic sudden death. Therefore, these characteristics can all be targets for molecular imaging by PET and SPECT. In this paper, we review the present state and future of radiolabelled probes that have been developed for detecting atherosclerotic unstable plaques with nuclear imaging techniques.
Molecular imaging; atherosclerosis; plaque; positron emission tomography; single photon emission computed tomography; 2-[18F]Fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose; lectin-like oxidized low density lipoprotein receptor-1; apoptosis; matrix metalloproteinase; thrombus
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