A method for the simultaneous structural and molecular imaging of arterial walls is reported online this week in Nature Medicine. This technique could have potential applications in the clinical management of atherosclerosis, identifying coronary arterial plaques before they cause ruptures in patients.
Methods to study atherosclerotic plaques in relation to the molecular mechanisms that underlie their initiation and progression could be very useful to identify people at risk for complications such as myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death.
Guillermo Tearney and his colleagues report the development of an intra-arterial catheter for simultaneous structural and molecular imaging in living rabbits. The team used this technique to obtain detailed information on what happens inside the blood vessel in cases of microthrombosis and atherosclerosis.