Imaging pathobiology of carotid atherosclerosis with ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide: an update

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To provide brief overview of the developments regarding use of ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide in imaging pathobiology of carotid atherosclerosis.

Recent findings

MRI is a promising technique capable of providing morphological and functional information about atheromatous plaques. MRI using iron oxide particles, called ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) particles, allows detection of macrophages in atherosclerotic tissue. Ferumoxytol has emerged as a new USPIO agent, which has an excellent safety profile. Based on the macrophage-selective properties of ferumoxytol, there is increasing number of recent reports suggesting its effectiveness to detect pathological inflammation.

Summary

USPIO particles allow magnetic resonance detection of macrophages in atherosclerotic tissue. Ferumoxytol has emerged as a new USPIO agent, with an excellent safety profile. This has the potential to be used for MRI of the pathobiology of atherosclerosis.

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