Molecular imaging of vulnerable coronary plaque: A pathophysiologic perspective

Sandeep Krishnan, Yuka Otaki, Mhairi Doris, Leandro Slipczuk, Yoav Arnson, Mathieu Rubeaux, Damini Dey, Piotr Slomka, Daniel S. Berman, Balaji Tamarappoo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Atherothrombotic events in coronary arteries are most often due to rupture of unstable plaque resulting in myocardial infarction. Radiolabeled molecular imaging tracers directed toward cellular targets that are unique to unstable plaque can serve as a powerful tool for identifying high-risk patients and for assessing the potential of new therapeutic approaches. Two commonly available radiopharmaceuticals-18F-FDG and 18F-NaF-have been used in clinical research for imaging coronary artery plaque, and ongoing clinical studies are testing whether there is an association between 18F-NaF uptake and future atherothrombotic events. Other, less available, tracers that target macrophages, endothelial cells, and apoptotic cells have also been tested in small groups of patients. Adoption of molecular imaging of coronary plaque into clinical practice will depend on overcoming major hurdles, ultimately including evidence that the detection of unstable plaque can change patient management and improve outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-364
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiogenesis
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiology
  • Inflammation
  • Molecular imaging
  • Molecular imaging
  • PET
  • PET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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