This subproject is one of many research subprojects utilizing the resources provided by a Center grant funded by NIH/NCRR. The subproject and investigator (PI) may have received primary funding from another NIH source, and thus could be represented in other CRISP entries. The institution listed is for the Center, which is not necessarily the institution for the investigator. Identifying features of carotid atheroma that may predict its vulnerability to rupture with subsequent thrombus formation may allow for earlier intervention to reduce the risk of stroke. MRI is a most promising non-invasive imaging technique for the evaluation of carotid atheroma because it offers excellent tissue contrast with enough resolution to discriminate these features. Certain components of plaque appear to selectively enhance following the administration of gadolinium-based contrast agents. Because of differences in hydrophilicity of the chelated gadolinium compounds, it is expected that enhancement patterns within the atheroma will differ due to differential hydrostatic interactions. Understanding these compositional differences might allow for the identification of vulnerable plaques. For example, collagenous fibrous caps tend to rupture leading to a cerebrovascular event whereas fibrous caps rich in the relatively hydrophilic proteoglycan matrix do not rupture. In this study we aim to exploit two commercially available gadolinium-based contrast agents that vary in hydrophilicity and determine plaque composition by the enhancement pattern and direct correlation with histopathologic analysis.
SPECIFIC AIMS : To characterize the differences in pattern of enhancement in the constituents of carotid atheromatous plaques.
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