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Nitric Oxide-Enhanced Molecular Imaging of Atheroma using Vascular Cellular Adhesion Molecule 1-Targeted Echogenic Immunoliposomes

      Abstract

      The aim of this study was to determine whether pre-treatment with nitric oxide-loaded echogenic liposomes (NO-ELIP) plus ultrasound can improve highlighting by molecularly targeted (anti-vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 [VCAM-1]) ELIP of atheroma components. Atherosclerotic animals were treated with anti-VCAM-1-ELIP or immunoglobulin (IgG)-ELIP. Each group was selected at random to receive pre-treatment with standard ELIP plus ultrasound, NO-ELIP without ultrasound and NO-ELIP plus ultrasound. Intravascular ultrasound highlighting data for the same arterial segments were collected before and after treatment. Pre-treatment with NO-ELIP plus ultrasound resulted in a significant increase in acoustic enhancement by anti-VCAM-1-ELIP (21.3 ± 1.5% for gray-scale value, 53.9 ± 3.1% for radiofrequency data; p < 0.001 vs. IgG-ELIP, p < 0.05 vs. pre-treatment with standard ELIP plus ultrasound or NO-ELIP without ultrasound). NO-ELIP plus ultrasound can improve highlighting of atheroma by anti-VCAM-1 ELIP. This NO pre-treatment strategy may be useful in optimizing contrast agent delivery to the vascular wall for both diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

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