Magnetic resonance imaging of endothelial adhesion molecules in mouse atherosclerosis using dual-targeted microparticles of iron oxide

Martina A. McAteer, Jurgen E. Schneider, Ziad A. Ali, Nicholas Warrick, Christina A. Bursill, Constantin Von Zur Muhlen, David R. Greaves, Stefan Neubauer, Keith M. Channon, Robin P. Choudhury

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OBJECTIVE - Microparticles of iron oxide (MPIO) distort magnetic field creating marked contrast effects far exceeding their physical size. We hypothesized that antibody-conjugated MPIO would enable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of endothelial cell adhesion molecules in mouse atherosclerosis. METHODS AND RESULTS - MPIO (4.5 μm) were conjugated to monoclonal antibodies against vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-MPIO) or P-selectin (P-selectin-MPIO). In vitro, VCAM-MPIO bound, in dose-dependent manner, to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α stimulated sEND-1 endothelial cells, as quantified by light microscopy (R=0.94, P=0.03) and by MRI (R=0.98, P=0.01). VCAM-MPIO binding was blocked by preincubation with soluble VCAM-1. To mimic leukocyte binding, MPIO targeting both VCAM-1 and P-selectin were administered in apolipoprotein E mice. By light microscopy, dual-targeted MPIO binding to endothelium overlying aortic root atherosclerosis was 5- to 7-fold more than P-selectin-MPIO (P<0.05) or VCAM-MPIO (P<0.01) alone. Dual-targeted MPIO, injected intravenously in vivo bound aortic root endothelium and were quantifiable by MRI ex vivo (3.5-fold increase versus control; P<0.01). MPIO were well-tolerated in vivo, with sequestration in the spleen after 24 hours. CONCLUSIONS - Dual-ligand MPIO bound to endothelium over atherosclerosis in vivo, under flow conditions. MPIO may provide a functional MRI probe for detecting endothelial-specific markers in a range of vascular pathologies.

Number of pages7
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Microparticles of iron oxide
  • Molecular imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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