Background: Atherosclerosis is a chronic, inflammatory disease in which ruptured plaques can lead to serious thrombotic events, including myocardial infarction or stroke. Often these cardiovascular events occur with no previous recognition of symptoms and only moderate stenosis. New diagnostic techniques are needed for earlier diagnosis and staging of atherosclerotic disease, so appropriate treatments, interventional procedures, or lifestyle changes can begin. Recent developments in nanotechnology could advance clinical imaging of molecular biomarkers, particularly for cardiovascular diagnosis. Objective: In this review, selected nanotechnologies under development for early detection of atherosclerotic disease and identification of vulnerable plaques are presented. Method: The scope of this review encompasses molecular imaging of atherosclerosis using nanoparticle contrast agents. Nanoparticle approaches are grouped by their corresponding diagnostic imaging modality. Results/conclusion: Diagnostic imaging techniques employing nanoparticle contrast agents targeted to molecular signatures of atherosclerotic disease offer hope for improved non-invasive detection.
- Contrast agents
- Diagnostic imaging