Iron Oxide Nanoparticle Uptake in Mouse Brachiocephalic Artery Atherosclerotic Plaque Quantified by T-2-Mapping MRI

R.P.M. Moonen, B.E. Coolen, J.C. Sluimer, M.J.A.P. Daemen, G.J. Strijkers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The purpose of our study was to monitor the iron oxide contrast agent uptake in mouse brachiocephalic artery (BCA) atherosclerotic plaques in vivo by quantitative T-2-mapping magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Female ApoE(-/-) mice (n = 32) on a 15-week Western-type diet developed advanced plaques in the BCA and were injected with ultra-small superparamagnetic iron oxides (USPIOs). Quantitative in vivo MRI at 9.4 T was performed with a Malcolm-Levitt (MLEV) prepared T-2-mapping sequence to monitor the nanoparticle uptake in the atherosclerotic plaque. Ex vivo histology and particle electron paramagnetic resonance (pEPR) were used for validation. Longitudinal high-resolution in vivo T-2-value maps were acquired with consistent quality. Average T-2 values in the plaque decreased from a baseline value of 34.5 +/- 0.6 ms to 24.0 +/- 0.4 ms one day after injection and partially recovered to an average T-2 of 27 +/- 0.5 ms after two days. T-2 values were inversely related to iron levels in the plaque as determined by ex vivo particle electron paramagnetic resonance (pEPR). We concluded that MRI T-2 mapping facilitates a robust quantitative readout for USPIO uptake in atherosclerotic plaques in arteries near the mouse heart.
Original languageEnglish
Article number279
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • atherosclerosis
  • inflammation
  • macrophages
  • quantitative mri
  • t-2 mapping
  • uspio
  • T-2 mapping
  • quantitative MRI

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