Noninvasive imaging of apoptosis in cardiovascular disease

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Abstract

Recent advances in molecular imaging have permitted the noninvasive imaging of apoptosis, a critical process underlying the pathogenesis of many diseases of the cardiovascular system including atherosclerotic vascular disease, myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury, chronic heart failure, myocarditis, and cardiac allograft rejection. Multiple molecular targets including phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and caspases have been targeted by a variety of imaging agents and modalities such as nuclear scintigraphy, PET, MRI, and fluorescent and bioluminescent imaging. Translationally, methods utilizing radiolabeled annexin V have proven promising in several clinical trials of ischemia-reperfusion injury and cardiac allograft rejection. New approaches using novel molecular imaging agents show great potential for the ability to image apoptosis in the research and clinical setting. Ultimately the ability to detect apoptosis noninvasively would help to identify patients for emerging anti-apoptotic therapies and guide clinical management with the aim of maximal myocardial preservation.

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