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Computational imaging of aortic vasa vasorum and neovascularization in rabbits using contrast enhanced intravascular ultrasound: association with histology analysis [Anatol J Cardiol]
Anatol J Cardiol. Ahead of Print: AJC-35761 | DOI: 10.14744/AnatolJCardiol.2018.35761  

Computational imaging of aortic vasa vasorum and neovascularization in rabbits using contrast enhanced intravascular ultrasound: association with histology analysis

Manolis Vavuranakis1, Theodore G. Papaioannou1, Dimitrios Vrachatis1, Michael Katsimboulas2, Elias A. Sanidas3, Sophia Vaina1, George Agrogiannis4, Efstratios Patsouris4, Ioannis Kakadiaris5, Christodoulos Stefanadis1, Dimitrios Tousoulis1
11st Department of Cardiology, Biomedical Engineering Unit, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
2Centre of Clinical, Experimental Surgery and Translational Research, Experimental Surgery Unit, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, Greece
3Cardiology Department, “Laiko” General Hospital, Athens, Greece
4Department of Pathology, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
5Computational Biomedicine Lab, Department of Computer Science, University of Houston, TX, USA

Neoangiogenesis is pathophysiologically related with atherosclerotic plaque growth and vulnerability. We examined the in-vivo performance of a computational method using contrast-enhanced intravascular ultrasound (CE-IVUS) to detect and quantify aortic wall neovascularization in rabbits. We also compared these findings with histology data. Nine rabbits were fed with a hyperlipidemic diet. IVUS image sequences were continuously recorded before and after the injection of a contrast agent. Mean enhancement of intensity of a region of interest (MEIR) was calculated using differential imaging algorithm. The percent difference of MEIR before and after the injection of microbubbles (d_MEIR) was used as an index of the density of plaque or/and adventitial neovascularization. Aortic segments were excised for histological analysis.. CE-IVUS and histology analysis was performed in 11 arterial segments. MEIR was significantly increased (~20%) after microbubbles injection (from 8.1±0.9 to 9.7±1.8, p=0.016). Segments with increased VV/neovessels at the adventitia (histologic scores 2 and 3) had significantly higher d_MEIR compared with segments with low presence of VV/neovessels (score 1); 40.5±22.9 vs 8±14.6, p=0.024, respectively. It is possible to detect VV or neovessels in-vivo using computational analysis of CE-IVUS images, which agrees with histology data. These findings may have critical implications on vulnerable plaque assessment and risk stratification.

Keywords: neoangiogenesis, microbubbles, vulnerable plaque, aorta, atherosclerosis




Corresponding Author: Theodore G. Papaioannou, Greece


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