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European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

, Volume 37, Issue 12, pp 2381–2397

First Online: 20 March 2010Received: 14 October 2009Accepted: 03 February 2010


Atherosclerosis is the major cause of cardiovascular disease, which still has the leading position in morbidity and mortality in the Western world. Many risk factors and pathobiological processes are acting together in the development of atherosclerosis. This leads to different remodelling stages positive and negative which are both associated with plaque physiology and clinical presentation. The different remodelling stages of atherosclerosis are explained with their clinical relevance. Recent advances in basic science have established that atherosclerosis is not only a lipid storage disease, but that also inflammation has a fundamental role in all stages of the disease. The molecular events leading to atherosclerosis will be extensively reviewed and described. Further on in this review different modalities and their role in the different stages of atherosclerosis will be discussed. Non-nuclear invasive imaging techniques intravascular ultrasound, intravascular MRI, intracoronary angioscopy and intravascular optical coherence tomography and non-nuclear non-invasive imaging techniques ultrasound with Doppler flow, electron-bean computed tomography, coronary computed tomography angiography, MRI and coronary artery MR angiography will be reviewed. After that we focus on nuclear imaging techniques for detecting atherosclerotic plaques, divided into three groups: atherosclerotic lesion components, inflammation and thrombosis. This emerging area of nuclear imaging techniques can provide measures of biological activity of atherosclerotic plaques, thereby improving the prediction of clinical events. As we will see in the future perspectives, at present, there is no special tracer that can be called the diagnostic tool to diagnose prospective stroke or infarction in patients. Nevertheless, we expect such a tracer to be developed in the next few years and maybe, theoretically, it could even be used for targeted therapy in the form of a beta-emitter to combat cardiovascular disease.

KeywordsAtherosclerosis Molecular imaging PET SPECT NMR CT Vulnerable carotid plaques  Download fulltext PDF

Autor: Andor W. J. M. Glaudemans - Riemer H. J. A. Slart - Alessandro Bozzao - Elena Bonanno - Marcello Arca - Rudi A. J. O


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