Molecular imaging in atherosclerosis: FDG PET

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2012 Oct;14(5):429-37. doi: 10.1007/s11883-012-0264-x.


18F-FDG PET is a new noninvasive tool for inflammation functional imaging. Low spatial resolution is now compensated by coregistration with CT or MRI. New mechanistic insights have emerged from animal and histology to explain the obtained signals by hypoxia, macrophage infiltration, and differentiation. Mixed results have been found in biomarkers studies. Interesting data have come recently linking plaque anatomy and function in carotids and in aortic aneurysms as well as inflammation and events. In coronary arteries, plaque assessment is still hampered by myocardium uptake but developments are being made. 18-FDG PET has been able to monitor inflammation before and after several therapies in animals and humans but to date the lack of standardization and the absence of prospective event-driven studies prevent this promising technique to be used in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diagnostic imaging
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Molecular Imaging / methods*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18