Multiparametric Imaging of Organ System Interfaces
Cardiovascular diseases are a consequence of genetic and environmental risk factors that together generate arterial wall and cardiac pathologies. Blood vessels connect multiple systems throughout the entire body and allow organs to interact via circulating messengers. These same interactions facilitate nervous and metabolic system’s influence on cardiovascular health. Multiparametric imaging offers the opportunity to study these interfacing systems’ distinct processes, to quantify their interactions, and to explore how these contribute to cardiovascular disease. Noninvasive multiparametric imaging techniques are emerging tools that can further our understanding of this complex and dynamic interplay. Positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging and multichannel optical imaging are particularly promising because they can simultaneously sample multiple biomarkers. Preclinical multiparametric diagnostics could help discover clinically relevant biomarker combinations pivotal for understanding cardiovascular disease. Interfacing systems important to cardiovascular disease include the immune, nervous, and hematopoietic systems. These systems connect with classical cardiovascular organs, such as the heart and vasculature, and with the brain. The dynamic interplay between these systems and organs enables processes, such as hemostasis, inflammation, angiogenesis, matrix remodeling, metabolism, and fibrosis. As the opportunities provided by imaging expand, mapping interconnected systems will help us decipher the complexity of cardiovascular disease and monitor novel therapeutic strategies.