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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2010 Feb;30(2):169-76. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.108.179275. Epub 2009 Oct 8.

High-density lipoprotein-based contrast agents for multimodal imaging of atherosclerosis.

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  • 1Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.

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  • Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol.2010 Sep;30(9):e176.


Lipoproteins, natural nanoparticles, have a well-recognized biological role and are highly suitable as a platform for delivering imaging agents. The ease with which both the exterior and interior of the particles can be modified permits the creation of multifunctional nanoparticles for imaging as well as the delivery of therapeutics. Importantly, their endogenous nature may make them biocompatible and biodegradable and allows them to avoid the recognition of the reticuloendothelial system. In particular, high-density lipoproteins (HDL) are of interest, because of their small size they can easily cross the endothelium and penetrate the underlying tissue. We summarize here the progress in establishing HDL as a vector for delivering a variety of diagnostically active materials to vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques in mouse models of atherosclerosis. By loading various types of image-enhancing compounds into either the core or surface of HDL, they can be visualized by different imaging modalities (MRI, CT, optical). By rerouting of HDL away from plaque macrophages, imaging of biological processes in diseases besides atherosclerosis may also be achieved.

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