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J Magn Reson Imaging. 2001 Dec;14(6):698-704.

Arterial wall MRI characteristics are associated with elevated serum markers of inflammation in humans.

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  • 1Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Inflammation contributes to atherosclerosis, but assessment in humans is largely restricted to measurement of markers in blood. We determined whether MRI properties of large arteries were associated with markers of inflammation in serum. Double inversion recovery, fast spin-echo images of the common carotid arteries and infrarenal aorta were obtained at 1.5 T both before and after gadolinium-DTPA (0.1 mmol/kg) in 52 subjects > or =40 years of age, 17 of whom had no risk factors for atherosclerosis and thus served as controls. Twenty-two study participants had increases in wall thickness (14), T2-weighted signal intensity (11), and/or contrast enhancement values (7) that were >2 standard deviations (SDs) from control group mean values. Ten subjects in this group had evidence of focal plaques in the carotids (5) and/or aorta (6). Compared with the remaining 30 subjects, these 22 had significantly higher levels of interleukin-6 (3.53 +/- 2.46 vs. 1.97 +/- 1.37 pg/mL, P = 0.004), C-reactive protein (0.56 +/- 0.98 vs. 0.30 +/- 0.52 mg/dL, P = 0.019), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (572 +/- 153 vs. 471 +/- 130 ng/mL, P = 0.012), and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (244 +/- 80 vs. 202 +/- 45 ng/mL, P = 0.015), and nonsignificant differences in levels of E-selectin (46.1 +/- 18.9 vs. 42.3 +/- 11.3 ng/mL, P = 0.369). Thus, MRI characteristics of the aorta and carotid arteries were associated with elevated serum markers of inflammation, frequently in the absence of definite atheroma. MRI of large arteries may provide a new approach to investigate the contribution of inflammation to atherogenesis.

Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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