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J Vasc Res. 2008;45(2):123-8. Epub 2007 Oct 16.

In vivo magnetic resonance imaging of atherosclerotic lesions with a newly developed Evans blue-DTPA-gadolinium contrast medium in apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice.

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Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.



Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents that specifically detect atherosclerotic plaque may be useful for the noninvasive detection of the plaque. We have recently developed a new contrast agent, Evans blue-DTPA-gadolinium (EB-DTPA-Gd), which selectively accumulates vascular lesions with endothelial removal. In this study, we examined whether EB-DTPA-Gd is also useful for in vivo imaging of atherosclerotic plaques.


We used male apolipoprotein-E-deficient (ApoE-/-) mice of different ages (3, 6 and 12 months old) and age-matched male wild-type mice. After a single intravenous administration of EB-DTPA-Gd (160 microM/kg body weight), MRI T(1) signal was obtained in vivo.


Increased signal intensity in the aortic wall was noted within 10-20 min after intravenous injection of EB-DTPA-Gd and was maintained for 30 min. The MRI enhancement in the aorta of ApoE-/- mice was increased in accordance with age, whereas no such enhancement was noted in wild-type mice. Histological examination demonstrated that there was a topological correlation between the site of MRI enhancement and that of atherosclerotic plaque.


These results indicate that EB-DTPA-Gd is a useful MRI contrast medium for the in vivo detection of atherosclerotic plaques.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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