The need for noninvasive imaging to distinguish stable from vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques is evident. Activated macrophages play a role in atherosclerosis and express folate receptor folate receptor β (FR-β). The feasibility of folate targeting to detect atherosclerosis was demonstrated in human and mouse plaques, and it was suggested that molecular imaging of FR-β through folate conjugates might be a specific marker for plaque vulnerability. However, these studies did not allow differentiation between stable and vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques. We investigated the feasibility of a folate-based radiopharmaceutical (111In-EC0800) with high-resolution animal single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) to differentiate between stable and vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques in apolipoprotein E-/- mice in which we can induce plaques with the characteristics of stable and vulnerable plaques by placing a flow-modifying cast around the common carotid artery. Both plaques showed 111In- EC0800 uptake, with higher uptake in the vulnerable plaque. However, the vulnerable plaque was larger than the stable plaque. Therefore, we determined tracer uptake per plaque volume and demonstrated higher accumulation of 111In-EC0800 in the stable plaque normalized to plaque volume. Our data show that 111In-EC0800 is not a clear-cut marker for the detection of vulnerable plaques but detects both stable and vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques in a mouse model of atherosclerosis.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.2310/7290.2013.00061, hdl.handle.net/1765/88126
Journal Molecular Imaging
Citation
Winkel, L.C.J, Groen, H.C, van Thiel, B.S, Müller, C, van der Steen, A.F.W, Wentzel, J.J, … van der Heiden, K. (2014). Folate receptor-targeted single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography to detect activated macrophages in atherosclerosis: Can it distinguish vulnerable from stable atherosclerotic plaques?. Molecular Imaging, 13(1). doi:10.2310/7290.2013.00061