RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES. Molecular imaging with targeted contrast agents enables tissues to be distinguished by detecting specific cell-surface receptors. In the present study, a ligand-targeted acoustic nanoparticle system is used to identify angioplasty-induced expression of tissue factor by smooth muscle cells within carotid arteries. METHODS. Pig carotid arteries were overstretched with balloon catheters, treated with tissue factor- targeted or a control nanoparticle system, and imaged with intravascular ultrasound before and after treatment. RESULTS. Tissue factor-targeted emulsions bound and increased the echogenicity and gray-scale levels of overstretched smooth muscle cells within the tunica media, versus no change in contralateral control arteries. Expression of stretch-induced tissue factor in carotid artery media was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. CONCLUSIONS. The potential for abnormal thrombogenicity of balloon-injured arteries, as reflected by smooth muscle expression of tissue factor, was imaged using a novel, targeted, nanoparticulate ultrasonic contrast agent.
- Molecular imaging
- Tissue factor