IVUSIVPA hybrid intravascular molecular imaging of angiogenesis in atherosclerotic plaques via RGDfk peptide-targeted nanoprobes

Current intravascular imaging modalities face hurdles in the molecular evaluation of progressed plaques. This study aims to construct a novel hybrid imaging system (intravascular ultrasound/intravascular photoacoustic, IVPA/IVUS) via RGDfk peptide-targeted nanoparticles for monitoring angiogenesis in progressed atherosclerotic plaques in a rabbit model. An atherosclerotic rabbit model was induced by abdominal aorta balloon de-endothelialization followed by a high-fat diet. A human serum albumin (HSA)-based nanoprobe modified with RGDfk peptide was constructed by encapsulating indocyanine green (ICG) via electrostatic force (ICG-HSA-RGDfk NPs, IHR-NPs). A hybrid intravascular imaging system that combined IVUS and IVPA was self-assembled for RGDfk visualization within atherosclerotic plaques in the rabbit abdominal aorta. Through IHR-NPs and the hybrid IVUS/IVPA imaging platform, multiple comprehensive pieces of information on progressed plaques, including anatomical information, composition information and molecular information, can be obtained simultaneously, which may improve the precise diagnosis of plaque characteristics and the evaluation of early interventions for atherosclerosis.

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