Quantitative "magnetic resonance immunohistochemistry" with ligand-targeted 19F nanoparticles

Anne M. Morawski, Patrick M. Winter, Xin Yu, Ralph W. Fuhrhop, Michael J. Scott, Franklin Hockett, J. David Robertson, Patrick J. Gaffney, Gregory M. Lanza, Samuel A. Wickline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


Unstable atherosclerotic plaques exhibit microdeposits of fibrin that may indicate the potential for a future rupture. However, current methods for evaluating the stage of an atherosclerotic lesion only involve characterizing the level of vessel stenosis, without delineating which lesions are beginning to rupture. Previous work has shown that fibrin-targeted, liquid perfluorocarbon nanoparticles, which carry a high payload of gadolinium, have a high sensitivity and specificity for detecting fibrin with clinical 1H MRI. In this work, the perfluorocarbon content of the targeted nanoparticles is exploited for the purposes of 19F imaging and spectroscopy to demonstrate a method for quantifiable molecular imaging of fibrin in vitro at 4.7 T. Additionally, the quantity of bound nanoparticles formulated with different perfluorocarbon species was calculated using spectroscopy. Results indicate that the high degree of nanoparticle binding to fibrin clots and the lack of background 19F signal allow accurate quantification using spectroscopy at 4.7 T, as corroborated with proton relaxation rate measurements at 1.5 T and trace element (gadolinium) analysis. Finally, the extension of these techniques to a clinically relevant application, the evaluation of the fibrin burden within an ex vivo human carotid endarterectomy sample, demonstrates the potential use of these particles for uniquely identifying unstable atherosclerotic lesions in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1255-1262
Number of pages8
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Contrast agents
  • Fibrin
  • Fluorine
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Molecular imaging
  • Nanoparticles


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