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J Magn Reson Imaging. 2010 Jan;31(1):110-6. doi: 10.1002/jmri.22008.

Early identification of aortic valve sclerosis using iron oxide enhanced MRI.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada.



To test the ability of MION-47 enhanced MRI to identify tissue macrophage infiltration in a rabbit model of aortic valve sclerosis (AVS).


The aortic valves of control and cholesterol-fed New Zealand White rabbits were imaged in vivo pre- and 48 h post-intravenous administration of MION-47 using a 1.5 Tesla (T) MR clinical scanner and a CINE fSPGR sequence. MION-47 aortic valve cusps were imaged ex vivo on a 3.0T whole-body MR system with a custom gradient insert coil and a three-dimensional (3D) FIESTA sequence and compared with aortic valve cusps from control and cholesterol-fed contrast-free rabbits. Histopathological analysis was performed to determine the site of iron oxide uptake.


MION-47 enhanced the visibility of both control and cholesterol-fed rabbit valves in in vivo images. Ex vivo image analysis confirmed the presence of significant signal voids in contrast-administered aortic valves. Signal voids were not observed in contrast-free valve cusps. In MION-47 administered rabbits, histopathological analysis revealed iron staining not only in fibrosal macrophages of cholesterol-fed valves but also in myofibroblasts from control and cholesterol-fed valves.


Although iron oxide labeling of macrophage infiltration in AVS has the potential to detect the disease process early, a macrophage-specific iron compound rather than passive targeting may be required.

(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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