Spectroscopic intravascular photoacoustic imaging of lipids in atherosclerosis

J Biomed Opt. 2014 Feb;19(2):026006. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.19.2.026006.

Abstract

The natural history of atherosclerosis is marked by changes in the lipid biochemistry in the diseased arterial wall. As lesions become more vulnerable, different cholesterol species accumulate in the plaque. Understanding unstable atherosclerosis as a pharmacological and interventional therapeutic target requires chemically specific imaging of disease foci. In this study, we aim to image atherosclerotic plaque lipids and other vessel wall constituents with spectroscopic intravascular photoacoustics (sIVPA). sIVPA imaging can identify lipids in human coronary atherosclerotic plaque by relying on contrast in the near-infrared absorption spectra of the arterial wall components. Using reference spectra acquired on pure compounds, we analyzed sIVPA data from human coronary plaques ex vivo, to image plaque composition in terms of cholesterol and cholesterol ester content. In addition, we visualized the deeper lying connective tissue layers of the adventitia, as well as the fatty acid containing adipose cells in the peri-adventitial tissue. We performed simultaneous coregistered IVUS imaging to obtain complementary morphological information. Results were corroborated by histopathology. sIVPA imaging can distinguish the most prevalent lipid components of human atherosclerotic plaques and also visualize the connective tissue layers of the adventitia and the fatty acid containing adipose cells in the peri-adventitial tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Adventitia / pathology
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology*
  • Cholesterol / chemistry*
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photoacoustic Techniques / instrumentation
  • Photoacoustic Techniques / methods*
  • Spectrum Analysis / instrumentation
  • Spectrum Analysis / methods*

Substances

  • Cholesterol