Ultra-selective carbon nanotubes for photoacoustic imaging of inflamed atherosclerotic plaques. Advanced functional materials Gifani, M., Eddins, D. J., Kosuge, H., Zhang, Y., Paluri, S. L., Larson, T., Leeper, N., Herzenberg, L. A., Gambhir, S. S., McConnell, M. V., Ghosn, E. E., Smith, B. R. 2021; 31 (37)


Disruption of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques often leads to myocardial infarction and stroke, the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States. A diagnostic method that detects high-risk atherosclerotic plaques at early stages could prevent these sequelae. The abundance of immune cells in the arterial wall, especially inflammatory Ly-6Chi monocytes and foamy macrophages, is indicative of plaque? inflammation, and may be associated with plaque vulnerability. Hence, we sought to develop a new method that specifically targets these immune cells to offer clinically-relevant diagnostic information about cardiovascular disease. We combine ultra-selective nanoparticle targeting of Ly-6Chi monocytes and foamy macrophages with clinically-viable photoacoustic imaging (PAI) in order to precisely and specifically image inflamed plaques ex vivo in a mouse model that mimics human vulnerable plaques histopathologically. Within the plaques, high-dimensional single-cell flow cytometry (13-parameter) showed that our nanoparticles were almost-exclusively taken up by the Ly-6Chi monocytes and foamy macrophages that heavily infiltrate plaques. PAI identified inflamed atherosclerotic plaques that display ~6-fold greater signal compared to controls (P<0.001) six hours after intravenous injection of ultra-selective carbon nanotubes, with in vivo corroboration via optical imaging. Our highly selective strategy may provide a targeted, non-invasive imaging strategy to accurately identify and diagnose inflamed atherosclerotic lesions.

View details for DOI 10.1002/adfm.202101005

View details for PubMedID 34733130

View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8559995