Symptomatic Carotid Plaques Demonstrate Less Leaky Plaque Microvasculature Compared With the Contralateral Side: A Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

Genevieve A. J. C. Crombag, Raf H. M. van Hoof, Robert J. Holtackers, Floris H. B. M. Schreuder, Martine T. B. Truijman, Tobien A. H. C. M. L. Schreuder, Narender P. van Orshoven, Werner H. Mess, Paul A. M. Hofman, Robert J. van Oostenbrugge, Joachim E. Wildberger, M. Eline Kooi*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background-Rupture of a vulnerable carotid atherosclerotic plaque is an important underlying cause of ischemic stroke. Increased leaky plaque microvasculature may contribute to plaque vulnerability. These immature microvessels may facilitate entrance of inflammatory cells into the plaque. The objective of the present study is to investigate whether there is a difference in plaque microvasculature (the volume transfer coefficient K-trans) between the ipsilateral symptomatic and contralateral asymptomatic carotid plaque using noninvasive dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging.

Methods and Results-Eighty-eight patients with recent transient ischemic attack or ischemic stroke and ipsilateral >2 mm carotid plaque underwent 3 T magnetic resonance imaging to identify plaque components and to determine characteristics of plaque microvasculature. The volume transfer coefficient K-trans, indicative for microvascular density, flow, and permeability, was calculated for the ipsilateral and asymptomatic plaque, using a pharmacokinetic model (Patlak). Presence of a lipid-rich necrotic core, intraplaque hemorrhage, and a thin and/or ruptured fibrous cap was assessed on multisequence magnetic resonance imaging. We found significantly lower e ans in the symptomatic carotid plaque compared with the asymptomatic side (0.057 +/- 0.002 min(-1) versus 0.062 +/- 0.002 min(-1); P=0.033). There was an increased number of slices with intraplaque hemorrhage (0.9 +/- 1.6 versus 0.3 +/- 0.8, P=0.002) and lipid-rich necrotic core (1.4 +/- 1.9 versus 0.8 +/- 1.4, P=0.016) and a higher prevalence of plaques with a thin and/or ruptured fibrous cap (32% versus 17%, P=0.023) at the symptomatic side.

Conclusions-K-trans was significantly lower in symptomatic carotid plaques, indicative for a decrease of plaque microvasculature in symptomatic plaques. This could be related to a larger amount of necrotic tissue in symptomatic plaques.

Original languageEnglish
Article number011832
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Volume8
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • angiogenesis
  • atherosclerosis
  • ischemic stroke
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • ADVENTITIAL VASA VASORUM
  • NECROTIC CORE SIZE
  • ATHEROSCLEROTIC PLAQUE
  • INTRAPLAQUE HEMORRHAGE
  • DCE-MRI
  • CEREBROVASCULAR EVENTS
  • HIGH-RESOLUTION
  • FIBROUS CAP
  • ANGIOGENESIS
  • INFLAMMATION

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