Tang TY, Howarth SP, Miller SR, Graves MJ, Patterson AJ, UK-I JM, et al. The ATHEROMA (Atorvastatin Therapy: Effects on Reduction of Macrophage Activity) Study. Evaluation using ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging in carotid disease. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2009;53(22):2039-50

University Department of Radiology, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology (Impact Factor: 16.5). 06/2009; 53(22):2039-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2009.03.018
Source: PubMed


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of low-dose (10 mg) and high-dose (80 mg) atorvastatin on carotid plaque inflammation as determined by ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO)-enhanced carotid magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The hypothesis was that treatment with 80 mg atorvastatin would demonstrate quantifiable changes in USPIO-enhanced MRI-defined inflammation within the first 3 months of therapy.
Preliminary studies indicate that USPIO-enhanced MRI can identify macrophage infiltration in human carotid atheroma in vivo and hence may be a surrogate marker of plaque inflammation.
Forty-seven patients with carotid stenosis >40% on duplex ultrasonography and who demonstrated intraplaque accumulation of USPIO on MRI at baseline were randomly assigned in a balanced, double-blind manner to either 10 or 80 mg atorvastatin daily for 12 weeks. Baseline statin therapy was equivalent to 10 mg of atorvastatin or less. The primary end point was change from baseline in signal intensity (DeltaSI) on USPIO-enhanced MRI in carotid plaque at 6 and 12 weeks.
Twenty patients completed 12 weeks of treatment in each group. A significant reduction from baseline in USPIO-defined inflammation was observed in the 80-mg group at both 6 weeks (DeltaSI 0.13; p = 0.0003) and at 12 weeks (DeltaSI 0.20; p < 0.0001). No difference was observed with the low-dose regimen. The 80-mg atorvastatin dose significantly reduced total cholesterol by 15% (p = 0.0003) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 29% (p = 0.0001) at 12 weeks.
Aggressive lipid-lowering therapy over a 3-month period is associated with significant reduction in USPIO-defined inflammation. USPIO-enhanced MRI methodology may be a useful imaging biomarker for the screening and assessment of therapeutic response to "anti-inflammatory" interventions in patients with atherosclerotic lesions. (Effects of Atorvastatin on Macrophage Activity and Plaque Inflammation Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging [ATHEROMA]; NCT00368589).

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Available from: Martin John Graves, Mar 29, 2014
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    • "Although residual stress is rarely considered in the majority of in vivo imaging-based computation modelling studies, neglecting this force may lead to an overestimation of FC stress and stretch concentrations (Ohayon et al., 2007). Secondly, the ultimate strength has a close association with local inflammation, which may be quantifiable through ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide-enhanced (USPIO) MR imaging (Tang et al., 2009) or positron emission tomography with 2-deoxy- 2-[fluorine-18]fluoro-D-glucose integrated with computed tomography ( 18 F-FDG-PET/CT) imaging (Tarkin et al., 2014). Lower strength thresholds should be adopted for mechanical-based vulnerability assessment if heavy inflammation is present within plaques. "
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    ABSTRACT: Atherosclerotic plaque rupture occurs when mechanical loading exceeds its material strength. Mechanical analysis has been shown to be complementary to the morphology and composition for assessing vulnerability. However, strength and stretch thresholds for mechanics-based assessment are currently lacking. This study aims to quantify the ultimate material strength and extreme extensibility of atherosclerotic components from human carotid plaques. Tissue strips of fibrous cap, media, lipid core and intraplaque hemorrhage/thrombus were obtained from 21 carotid endarterectomy samples of symptomatic patients. Uni-extension test with tissue strips was performed until they broke or slid. The Cauchy stress and stretch ratio at the peak loading of strips broken about 2mm away from the clamp were used to characterize their ultimate strength and extensibility. Results obtained indicated that ultimate strength of fibrous cap and media were 158.3 [72.1, 259.3] kPa (Median [Inter quartile range]) and 247.6 [169.0, 419.9] kPa, respectively; those of lipid and intraplaque hemorrhage/thrombus were 68.8 [48.5, 86.6] kPa and 83.0 [52.1, 124.9] kPa, respectively. The extensibility of each tissue type were: fibrous cap - 1.18 [1.10, 1.27]; media - 1.21 [1.17, 1.32]; lipid - 1.25 [1.11, 1.30] and intraplaque hemorrhage/thrombus - 1.20 [1.17, 1.44]. Overall, the strength of fibrous cap and media were comparable and so were lipid and intraplaque hemorrhage/thrombus. Both fibrous cap and media were significantly stronger than either lipid or intraplaque hemorrhage/thrombus. All atherosclerotic components had similar extensibility. Moreover, fibrous cap strength in the proximal region (closer to the heart) was lower than that of the distal. These results are helpful in understanding the material behavior of atherosclerotic plaques.
    Journal of Biomechanics 10/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.09.037 · 2.75 Impact Factor
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    • "Clinical studies have demonstrated uptake of small iron oxide (USPIO) particles in carotid plaques and the uptake was found to correspond to areas of macrophage infiltration [13]. One study has even used USPIO-enhanced carotid MRI to assess the therapeutic response of short term aggressive lipid lower therapy [14]. Fibrin is another molecular target of MRI utilizing a fibrinspecific gadolinium-based contrast agent. "
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    ABSTRACT: Noninvasive imaging of atherosclerosis could potentially move patient management towards individualized triage, treatment, and followup. The newly introduced combined positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system could emerge as a key player in this context. Both PET and MRI have previously been used for imaging plaque morphology and function: however, the combination of the two methods may offer new synergistic opportunities. Here, we will give a short summary of current relevant clinical applications of PET and MRI in the setting of atherosclerosis. Additionally, our initial experiences with simultaneous PET/MRI for atherosclerosis imaging are presented. Finally, future potential vascular applications exploiting the unique combination of PET and MRI will be discussed.
    BioMed Research International 01/2015; 2015:914516. DOI:10.1155/2015/914516 · 2.71 Impact Factor
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    • "There is a wide range of molecular imaging modalities employed for detection and characterization of atherosclerosis, primarily in large vessels. Examples include positron emission tomography (PET) with 18F-FDG [5], magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using ultra-small super-paramagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) probes [6], [7], single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) using VCAM-1-specific 99mTc-labeled peptidic sequences [8], and the iodinated nanoparticulate contrast agent N1177 for computed tomography (CT) [9]. However, application of these external imaging approaches to coronary atherosclerosis has been challenging due to small coronary size, cardiac motion, and detecting adequate signal and contrast. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Atherosclerosis is a progressive inflammatory condition that underlies coronary artery disease (CAD)-the leading cause of death in the United States. Thus, the ultimate goal of this research is to advance our understanding of human CAD by improving the characterization of metabolically active vulnerable plaques within the coronary arteries using a novel catheter-based imaging system. The aims of this study include (1) developing a novel fiber-optic imaging system with a scintillator to detect both 18F and fluorescent glucose probes, and (2) validating the system on ex vivo murine plaques. Methods: A novel design implements a flexible fiber-optic catheter consisting of both a radio-luminescence and a fluorescence imaging system to detect radionuclide 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) and the fluorescent analog 6-(N-(7-Nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl)amino)-6-Deoxyglucose (6-NBDG), respectively. Murine macrophage-rich atherosclerotic carotid plaques were imaged ex vivo after intravenous delivery of 18F-FDG or 6-NBDG. Confirmatory optical imaging by IVIS-200 and autoradiography were also performed. Results: Our fiber-optic imaging system successfully visualized both 18F-FDG and 6-NBDG probes in atherosclerotic plaques. For 18F-FDG, the ligated left carotid arteries (LCs) exhibited 4.9-fold higher radioluminescence signal intensity compared to the non-ligated right carotid arteries (RCs) (2.6 × 10(4) ± 1.4 × 10(3) vs. 5.4 × 10(3) ± 1.3 × 10(3) A.U., P = 0.008). Similarly, for 6-NBDG, the ligated LCs emitted 4.3-fold brighter fluorescent signals than the control RCs (1.6 × 10(2) ± 2.7 × 10(1) vs. 3.8 × 10(1) ± 5.9 A.U., P = 0.002). The higher uptake of both 18F-FDG and 6-NBDG in ligated LCs were confirmed with the IVIS-200 system. Autoradiography further verified the higher uptake of 18F-FDG by the LCs. Conclusions: This novel fiber-optic imaging system was sensitive to both radionuclide and fluorescent glucose probes taken up by murine atherosclerotic plaques. In addition, 6-NBDG is a promising novel fluorescent probe for detecting macrophage-rich atherosclerotic plaques.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e108108. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0108108 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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