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Tang TY, Muller KH, Graves MJ, Li ZY, Walsh SR, Young V, Sadat U, Howarth SP, Gillard JH
Iron oxide particles for atheroma imaging.
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The selection of patients for vascular interventions has been solely based on luminal stenosis and symptomatology. However, histological data from both the coronary and carotid vasculature suggest that other plaque features such as inflammation may be more important in predicting future thromboembolic events. Ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) contrast agents have been used for noninvasive MRI assessment of atherosclerotic plaque inflammation in humans. It has reached the stage of development to have been recently used in an interventional drug study to not only assess inflammatory progression but also select patients at high risk. This article reviews the basic science behind the use of USPIO contrast agents in atheroma MR imaging, experimental work in animals, and how this has led to the emergence of this promising targeted imaging platform for assessment of high risk carotid atherosclerosis in humans.
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