Intravascular optical imaging of high-risk plaques in vivo by targeting macrophage mannose receptors

Ji Bak Kim, Kyeongsoon Park, Jiheun Ryu, Jae Joong Lee, Min Woo Lee, Han Saem Cho, Hyeong Soo Nam, Ok Kyu Park, Joon Woo Song, Tae Shik Kim, Dong Joo Oh, Dae Gab Gweon, Wang Yuhl Oh, Hongki Yoo, Jin Won Kim

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Macrophages mediate atheroma expansion and disruption, and denote high-risk arterial plaques. Therefore, they are substantially gaining importance as a diagnostic imaging target for the detection of rupture-prone plaques. Here, we developed an injectable near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) probe by chemically conjugating thiolated glycol chitosan with cholesteryl chloroformate, NIRF dye (cyanine 5.5 or 7), and maleimide-polyethylene glycol-mannose as mannose receptor binding ligands to specifically target a subset of macrophages abundant in high-risk plaques. This probe showed high affinity to mannose receptors, low toxicity, and allowed the direct visualization of plaque macrophages in murine carotid atheroma. After the scale-up of the MMR-NIRF probe, the administration of the probe facilitated in vivo intravascular imaging of plaque inflammation in coronary-sized vessels of atheromatous rabbits using a custom-built dual-modal optical coherence tomography (OCT)-NIRF catheter-based imaging system. This novel imaging approach represents a potential imaging strategy enabling the identification of high-risk plaques in vivo and holds promise for future clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22608
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 7
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Young-Duk Kim, PhD, for assistance with intravital microscopy, and Ji Woong Kim for the illustrations of animals. This research was supported in part by a grant through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (No. 2015R1A2A2A07027863 to Drs. Kim, Park and Yoo, No. 2015R1A1A1A05027209 to Dr. Yoo, No. 2010-0017465 to Dr. Oh, No. 2014R1A2A1A10050330 to Dr. Gweon), the Ministry of Health & Welfare of Korea (HI15C0001) to Dr. Oh.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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