Polymeric Nanoparticle PET/MR Imaging Allows Macrophage Detection in Atherosclerotic PlaquesNovelty and Significance
Rationale: Myeloid cell content in atherosclerotic plaques associates with rupture and thrombosis. Thus, imaging of lesional monocytes and macrophages could serve as a biomarker of disease progression and therapeutic intervention.
Objective: To noninvasively assess plaque inflammation with dextran nanoparticle (DNP)-facilitated hybrid positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (PET/MRI).
Methods and Results: Using clinically approved building blocks, we systematically developed 13-nm polymeric nanoparticles consisting of cross-linked short chain dextrans, which were modified with desferoxamine for zirconium-89 radiolabeling (89Zr-DNP) and a near-infrared fluorochrome (VT680) for microscopic and cellular validation. Flow cytometry of cells isolated from excised aortas showed DNP uptake predominantly in monocytes and macrophages (76.7%) and lower signal originating from other leukocytes, such as neutrophils and lymphocytes (11.8% and 0.7%, P<0.05 versus monocytes and macrophages). DNP colocalized with the myeloid cell marker CD11b on immunohistochemistry. PET/MRI revealed high uptake of 89Zr-DNP in the aortic root of apolipoprotein E knock out (ApoE−/−) mice (standard uptake value, ApoE−/− mice versus wild-type controls, 1.9±0.28 versus 1.3±0.03; P<0.05), corroborated by ex vivo scintillation counting and autoradiography. Therapeutic silencing of the monocyte-recruiting receptor C-C chemokine receptor type 2 with short-interfering RNA decreased 89Zr-DNP plaque signal (P<0.05) and inflammatory gene expression (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Hybrid PET/MRI with a 13-nm DNP enables noninvasive assessment of inflammation in experimental atherosclerotic plaques and reports on therapeutic efficacy of anti-inflammatory therapy.
- Received November 18, 2012.
- Revision received January 6, 2013.
- Accepted January 8, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.