Near-infrared fluorescence imaging of carotid plaques in an atherosclerotic murine model

Xiaotian Wu, Amy Daniel Ulumben, Steven Long, Wataru Katagiri, Moses Q. Wilks, Hushan Yuan, Brian Cortese, Chengeng Yang, Satoshi Kashiwagi, Hak Soo Choi, Marc D. Normandin, Georges El Fakhri, Raiyan T. Zaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Successful imaging of atherosclerosis, one of the leading global causes of death, is crucial for diagnosis and intervention. Near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging has been widely adopted along with multimodal/hybrid imaging systems for plaque detection. We evaluate two macrophage-targeting fluorescent tracers for NIRF imaging (TLR4-ZW800-1C and Feraheme-Alexa Fluor 750) in an atherosclerotic murine cohort, where the left carotid artery (LCA) is ligated to cause stenosis, and the right carotid artery (RCA) is used as a control. Imaging performed on dissected tissues revealed that both tracers had high uptake in the diseased vessel compared to the control, which was readily visible even at short exposure times. In addition, ZW800-1C’s renal clearance ability and Feraheme’s FDA approval puts these two tracers in line with other NIRF tracers such as ICG. Continued investigation with these tracers using intravascular NIRF imaging and larger animal models is warranted for clinical translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1753
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Feraheme
  • Macrophages
  • Molecular-targeted fluorescent tracers
  • NIRF
  • TLR4
  • Zwitterionic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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