[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To utilize a rabbit model of plaque disruption to assess the accuracy of different magnetic resonance sequences [T1-weighted (T1W), T2-weighted (T2W), magnetization transfer (MT) and diffusion weighting (DW)] at 11.7 T for the ex vivo detection of size and composition of thrombus associated with disrupted plaques.
Atherosclerosis was induced in the aorta of male New Zealand White rabbits (n = 17) by endothelial denudation and high-cholesterol diet. Subsequently, plaque disruption was induced by pharmacological triggering. Segments of infra-renal aorta were excised fixed in formalin and examined by ex vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 11.7 T and histology.
MRI at 11.7 T showed that: (i) magnetization transfer contrast (MTC) and diffusion weighted images (DWI) detected thrombus with higher sensitivity compared to T1W and T2W images [sensitivity: MTC = 88.2%, DWI = 76.5%, T1W = 66.6% and T2W = 43.7%, P < 0.001]. Similarly, the contrast-to-noise (CNR) between the thrombus and the underlying plaque was superior on the MTC and DWI images [CNR: MTC = 8.5 ± 1.1, DWI = 6.0 ± 0.8, T1W = 1.8 ± 0.5, T2W = 3.0 ± 1.0, P < 0.001]; (ii) MTC and DWI provided a more accurate detection of thrombus area with histology as the gold-standard [underestimation of 6% (MTC) and 17.6% (DWI) compared to an overestimation of thrombus area of 53.7% and 46.4% on T1W and T2W images, respectively]; (iii) the percent magnetization transfer rate (MTR) correlated with the fibrin (r = 0.73, P = 0.003) and collagen (r = 0.9, P = 0.004) content of the thrombus.
The conspicuity of the thrombus was increased on MTC and DW compared to T1W and T2W images. Changes in the %MTR and apparent diffusion coefficient can be used to identify the organization stage of the thrombus.
Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 06/2012; 14:45. · 4.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Liver fatty acid binding protein (L-FABP), a cytosolic protein most abundant in liver, is associated with intracellular transport of fatty acids, nuclear signaling, and regulation of intracellular lipolysis. Among the members of the intracellular lipid binding protein family, L-FABP is of particular interest as it can i), bind two fatty acid molecules simultaneously and ii), accommodate a variety of bulkier physiological ligands such as bilirubin and fatty acyl CoA. To better understand the promiscuous binding and transport properties of L-FABP, we investigated structure and dynamics of human L-FABP with and without bound ligands by means of heteronuclear NMR. The overall conformation of human L-FABP shows the typical β-clam motif. Binding of two oleic acid (OA) molecules does not alter the protein conformation substantially, but perturbs the chemical shift of certain backbone and side-chain protons that are involved in OA binding according to the structure of the human L-FABP/OA complex. Comparison of the human apo and holo L-FABP structures revealed no evidence for an "open-cap" conformation or a "swivel-back" mechanism of the K90 side chain upon ligand binding, as proposed for rat L-FABP. Instead, we postulate that the lipid binding process in L-FABP is associated with backbone dynamics.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proteins are major plaque components, and their degradation is related to the plaque instability. We sought to assess the feasibility of magnetization transfer (MT) magnetic resonance (MR) for identifying fibrin and collagen in carotid atherosclerotic plaques ex vivo.
Human carotid artery specimens (n = 34) were obtained after resection from patients undergoing endarterectomy. MR was completed within 12 hr after surgery on an 11.7T MR microscope prior to fixation. Two sets of T1W spoiled gradient echo images were acquired with and without the application of a saturation pulse set to 10 kHz off resonance. The magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) was calculated, and the degree of MT contrast was correlated with histology.
MT with appropriate calibration clearly detected regions with high protein density, which showed a higher MTR (thick fibers (collagen type I) (54 ± 8%)) compared to regions with a low amount of protein including lipid (46 ± 8%) (p = 0.05), thin fibers (collagen type III) (11 ± 6%) (p = 0.03), and calcification (6.8 ± 4%) (p = 0.02). Intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH) with different protein density demonstrated different MT effects. Old (rich in protein debris) and recent IPH (rich in fibrin) had a much higher MTR 69 ± 6% and 55 ± 9%, respectively, compared to fresh IPH (rich in intact red blood cells)(9 ± 3%).
MT MR enhances plaque tissue contrast and identifies the protein-rich regions of carotid artery specimens. The additional information from MTR of IPH may provide important insight into the role of IPH on plaque stability, evolution, and the risk for future ischemic events.
Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 11/2011; 13:73. · 4.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability to identify atherosclerotic plaques with a high risk for sudden disruption before stroke or myocardial infarction would be of great utility. We used a rabbit model of controlled atherothrombosis to test whether in vivo MRI can noninvasively distinguish between plaques that disrupt after pharmacological triggering (vulnerable) and those that do not (stable).
Atherosclerosis was induced in male New Zealand White (n=17) rabbits by cholesterol diet and endothelial denudation of the abdominal aorta. After baseline (pretrigger) MRI with and without gadolinium contrast, the rabbits underwent 2 pharmacological triggerings to induce atherothrombosis, followed by another MRI 48 hours later (post-triggering). Atherosclerosis was identified by the pretriggered images in all rabbits, and thrombosis was identified in 9 of 17 animals (53%) by post-trigger MRI. After the animals were euthanized, 95 plaques were analyzed; 28 (29.5%) had thrombi (vulnerable) and 67 did not (stable) (70.5%). Pretriggered MRI revealed comparable stenosis in stable and vulnerable plaques, but vulnerable plaques had a larger plaque area (4.8+/-1.6 versus 3.0+/-1.0 mm(2); P=0.01), vessel area (9.2+/-3.0 versus. 15.8+/-4.9 mm(2); P=0.01), and higher remodeling ratio (1.16+/-0.2 versus 0.93+/-0.2; P=0.01) compared with stable plaques. Furthermore, vulnerable plaques more frequently exhibited (1) positive remodeling (67.8% versus 22.3%; P=0.01), in which the plaque is hidden within the vessel wall instead of occluding the lumen; and (2) enhanced gadolinium uptake (78.6% versus 20.9%; P=0.01) associated with histological findings of neovascularization, inflammation, and tissue necrosis.
We demonstrate that in vivo MRI at 3.0 T detects features of vulnerable plaques in an animal model of controlled atherothrombosis. These findings suggest that MRI may be used as a noninvasive modality for localization of plaques that are prone to disruption.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Storage of lipid in ectopic depots outside of abdominal visceral and subcutaneous stores, including within the pericardium and liver, has been associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular risk. We sought to determine whether anatomically distinct ectopic depots were physiologically correlated and site-specific effects upon cardiovascular function could be identified. Obese subjects (n = 28) with metabolic syndrome but without known atherosclerotic disease and healthy controls (n = 18) underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and proton MR spectroscopy (MRS) to quantify pericardial and periaortic lipid volumes, cardiac function, aortic compliance, and intrahepatic lipid content. Fasting plasma lipoproteins, glucose, insulin, and free-fatty acids were measured. Pericardial and intrahepatic (P < 0.01) and periaortic (P < 0.05) lipid volumes were increased in obese subjects vs. controls and were strongly and positively correlated (P <or= 0.01) but independent of BMI (P = NS) among obese subjects. Intrahepatic lipid was associated with insulin resistance (P < 0.01) and triglycerides (P < 0.05), whereas pericardial and periaortic lipid were not (P = NS). Periaortic and pericardial lipid positively correlated to free-fatty acids (P <or= 0.01) and negatively correlated to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (P < 0.05). Pericardial lipid negatively correlated to cardiac output (P = 0.03) and stroke volume (P = 0.01) but not to left ventricular ejection fraction (P = 0.46). None of the ectopic depots correlated to aortic compliance. In conclusion, ectopic storage of lipid in anatomically distinct depots appeared tightly correlated but independent of body size. Site-specific functional abnormalities were observed for pericardial but not periaortic lipid. These findings underscore the utility of MRI to assess individual differences in ectopic lipid that are not predictable from BMI.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disruption and thrombosis of atherosclerotic plaques cause most acute cardiovascular events, but their systematic study has been hampered by the lack of suitable animal models. To assess the value of a modified rabbit model of atherothrombosis, we performed detailed histology of rabbit aortic plaques. Atherosclerosis was induced with a high cholesterol diet fed 2 weeks prior to and 6 weeks after balloon injury of the aorta, followed by 4 weeks of normal diet. We found six out of eight types of plaques cataloged by the American Heart Association in the rabbit aorta. Vulnerable plaques were defined as those with attached platelet and fibrin-rich thrombi after pharmacological triggering with Russell's viper venom and histamine. Ruptured plaques had, as also described for human plaques: i) marked medial and adventitial changes, including neovascularization and inflammation; ii) cholesterol monohydrate crystals and liquid crystalline cholesterol esters in the intima and the fibrous cap; and iii) inflamed, thin fibrous caps. Increased cholesterol monohydrate area, internal elastic lamina area, positive remodeling, fibrous cap inflammation, adventitia breakdown, and inflammation were independent predictors of plaque disruption. Our findings reveal novel insights into plaque vulnerability and could guide the design of noninvasive imaging approaches for detecting and treating high-risk plaques.
The Journal of Lipid Research 02/2009; 50(5):787-97. · 4.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The content and distribution of lipids is an important aspect of plaque vulnerability, but lipids are present within a heterogeneous environment, impeding detection by magnetic resonance imaging. Our goal was to achieve accurate detection of mobile lipids by a single magnetic resonance imaging sequence.
Carotid endarectomy specimens (n=23) were imaged ex vivo at a high magnetic field (11.7 T) within 24 hours after surgery. Three contrast-weighted (T1W, T2W, and diffusion-weighted imaging [DWI]) image sequences were acquired and then coregistered with histological preparations for lipids (Oil red O and polarized light microscopy) and fibrous tissue (trichrome). Contrast-to-noise ratios were measured and compared for the 3 contrast weightings. Contrast-to-noise ratio measurement in regions identified as lipid versus fibrous tissue showed greater differences by DWI (4.5+/-0.63 versus 0.64+/-0.08; P<0.05) as compared with T2W (2.83+/-0.36 versus 1.36+/-0.37; P<0.05). We validated the presence and distribution of lipids (mainly cholesteryl esters) by both histology and image-guide spectroscopy. The basis for distinguishing mobile lipid and water inside the plaque was illustrated by diffusion-weighted spectroscopy.
Biophysical properties of plaque lipids can confer selective identification by DWI, as opposed to standard T1W and T2W imaging sequences. Successful translation of DWI in vivo could identify of features of vulnerable plaque.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intracellular lipid-binding proteins have evolved from a common ancestral gene with the appearance of mitochondrial oxidation, to guarantee, for example, transport of fatty acids through the aqueous cytosol to their site of utilization. The mammalian forms of these lipid carriers are structurally well-characterized and have been categorized, on the basis of sequence similarities and several typical ligand-binding features, into four subfamilies. Only a single complex structure of an invertebrate fatty-acid-binding protein (FABP) has been reported to date, which reveals a unique ligand-binding arrangement yet unknown in vertebrate FABPs. In the present study, the structure of a second invertebrate FABP (locust muscle) complexed with a fatty acid has been determined on the basis of intermolecular NOE connectivities between the protein and the uniformly (13)C-enriched oleate ligand. The resulting ligand conformation, although resembling the closely related mammalian heart- and adipocyte-type FABPs, is characterized by certain binding features that differ significantly from the typical hairpin-turn ligand shapes of the latter forms. This is primarily due to an alanine-to-leucine substitution in locust FABPs that produces a steric hindrance for ligand binding. A comparison with an FABP from tobacco hornworm larvae furthermore demonstrates that certain amino acid substitutions that appear to be specific for invertebrates decidedly influence the binding arrangement inside the protein cavity. Hence, as a result of these evolutionary variations, invertebrate FABPs may display a much greater diversity in intracellular lipid binding than observed for the mammalian transport proteins, thus possibly providing new insights for the design of modified lipid carriers.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques may be identified by their large lipid component, particularly liquid cholesteryl ester (CE), covered by a fibrous cap. We hypothesized that image-guided 1H proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) would identify mobile CE in discrete, preselected regions of atherosclerotic plaque. Human carotid endarterectomy specimens (n = 10) were imaged ex vivo by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at high field (11.7 T) utilizing standard T1- and T2-weighted spin echo protocols. MRS spectra were acquired from 1 mm3 voxels, localized to plaque regions that we judged by MRI to be lipid rich or lipid poor. The spectra revealed methyl and methylene resonances of fatty acyl chains with relative intensities and linewidths characteristic of pure CE, by comparison with lipid standards. Regions judged to be lipid rich by MRI showed much more intense CE resonances than did lipid-poor regions. The integrated intensities of lipid peaks were 5.5 +/- 2.0% (lipid-rich regions) versus 0.9 +/- 0.6% (lipid-poor regions) of the unsuppressed water peak (P < 0.0001). Lipid distribution by histology, MRS, and MRI showed strong correlation. Image-guided proton MRS accurately identified CE in selected regions of atherosclerotic plaque as small as 1 mm3 in an ex vivo setting. This procedure may permit the noninvasive detection and quantification of CE in atherosclerotic plaque in vivo.
The Journal of Lipid Research 02/2006; 47(2):310-7. · 4.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MRI would be a valuable noninvasive diagnostic tool to study plaque-associated thrombi. We defined the imaging characteristics of these thrombi, composed primarily of platelets and fibrin, and distinguished them clearly from the vessel lumen and underlying atherosclerotic plaque in an animal model of plaque rupture.
After triggering plaque rupture in New Zealand White male rabbits, segments of infrarenal aorta containing either red or white thrombi were fixed in formalin. Compared with postmortem red cell-rich thrombi, atherothrombi yielded complex magnetic resonance images with intermediate signal intensity in standard T1- and T2-weighted imaging sequences and were often difficult to distinguish from the aortic wall. Diffusion-weighted imaging sequences revealed restricted diffusion of the atherothrombus relative to the vessel wall and provided excellent contrast. The apparent diffusion coefficient of the thrombus is 1.0x10(-3) mm2/s, compared with 1.5x10(-3) mm2/s in tissue. Similar results were obtained using purified aggregated platelets.
We present the first detailed description of the MRI appearance of plaque rupture-associated thrombosis in histologically validated platelet-rich thrombi. Diffusion-weighted imaging provided the best distinction between thrombus and vessel wall and has potential application for the noninvasive in vivo detection of atherothrombosis.