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February Paper of the Month: Better predictive tools for atherosclerotic disease

February 2010 PaperThis month's featured paper, published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology is: "Molecular imaging of the initial inflammatory response in atherosclerosis: Implications for early detection of disease," by an investigative group* from the OHSU Cardiac Imaging Laboratory led by Jonathan Lindner, MD, Professor, OHSU Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. 

Molecular imaging with contrast-enhanced ultrasound is an emerging method of diagnosis and research in cardiovascular diseases. Several years ago, this investigative group reported that ultrasound molecular imaging, which utilizes targeted microbubbles and other acoustic particles, of endothelial cell adhesion molecule expression could be used to non-invasively assess vascular inflammation in atherosclerotic disease, one of the major determinants of plaque rupture and acute coronary syndromes.

In this recent paper, this group published their results demonstrating that ultrasound molecular imaging of the cell adhesion molecules P-selectin and VCAM-1, which are expressed by cells that line the arterial wall when activated, could detect the earliest initial stages of atherosclerosis in a murine model of atherosclerosis. Imaging of this inflammatory phenotype detected aggressive forms of disease even before there was encroachment of the arterial lumen with plaque.

The study, led by Beat Kauffman, MD, a visiting research fellow from Basel, Switzerland, suggests that aggressive forms of atherosclerosis could be detected decades before clinical events occur and could be used to guide novel therapies to arrest atherogenesis.

With regard to more advanced disease, this same research group has also developed molecular imaging methods for rapid bedside detection of ischemia. The group's line of research was recognized by the award of an NIH Challenge Grant in 2009 to produce human-compatible probes and to transition this technology to patients where it can be used to diagnose acute coronary syndrome and to differentiate ischemic from non-ischemic etiologies even hours after resolution of chest pain.

*Kaufmann, B.A.; Carr, C.L.; Belcik, J.T.; Xie, A.; Yue, Q.; Chadderdon, S.; Caplan, E.S.; Khangura, J.; Bullens, S.; Bunting, S.; and, Lindner, J.R.

This monthly paper summary was compiled by Dr. Lindner in collaboration with Associate Dean for Basic Science Mary Stenzel-Poore, PhD, and Director of Research Development & Communication Rachel Dresbeck, PhD. The summary was reviewed prior to publication by Dean Mark Richardson, MD, MBA, and Vice President/Senior Associate Dean for Research Dan Dorsa, PhD.

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The School of Medicine News spotlights a recently published faculty research paper in each issue. The goals are to highlight the great research happening at OHSU and to share this information across departments, institutes and disciplines. A list of all papers published by OHSU authors during the prior month compiled by the OHSU Library is provided here.

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