Scintillating balloon-enabled fiber-optic system for radionuclide imaging of atherosclerotic plaques

Raiyan T. Zaman, Hisanori Kosuge, Colin Carpenter, Conroy Sun, Michael V. McConnell, Lei Xing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Atherosclerosis underlies coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide. Detection of coronary plaque inflammation remains challenging. In this study, we developed a scintillating balloon-enabled fiber-optic radionuclide imaging (SBRI) system to improve the sensitivity and resolution of plaque imaging using 18F-FDG, a marker of vascular inflammation, and tested it in a murine model. Methods: The fiber-optic system uses a Complementary Metal-Oxide Silicon (CMOS) camera with a distal ferrule terminated with a wide-angle lens. The novelty of this system is a scintillating balloon in the front of the wide-angle lens to image light from the decay of 18F- FDG emission signal. To identify the optimal scintillating materials with respect to resolution, we calculated the modulation transfer function of yttrium-aluminum-garnet doped with cerium, anthracene, and calcium fluoride doped with europium (CaF2:Eu) phosphors using an edge pattern and a thin-line optical phantom. The scintillating balloon was then fabricated from 10 mL of silicone RTV catalyst mixed with 1 mL of base and 50 mg of CaF2:Eu per mL. The addition of a lutetium oxyorthosilicate scintillating crystal (500 μm thick) to the balloon was also investigated. The SBRI system was tested in a murine atherosclerosis model: carotid-ligated mice (n = 5) were injected with 18F-FDG, followed by ex vivo imaging of the macrophage-rich carotid plaques and nonligated controls. Confirmatory imaging of carotid plaques and controls was also performed by an external optical imaging system and autoradiography. Results: Analyses of the different phosphors showed that CaF2 :Eu enabled the best resolution of 1.2 μm. The SBRI system detected almost a 4-foldhigher radioluminescence signal from the ligated left carotid artery than the nonligated right carotid: 1.63 × 102 ± 4.01 × 101 vs. 4.21 × 101 ± 2.09 × 100 (photon counts), P = 0.006. We found no significant benefit to adding a scintillating crystal to the balloon: 1.65 × 102 ± 4.07 × 101 vs. 4.44 × 101 ± 2.17 × 100 (photon counts), P = 0.005. Both external optical imaging and autoradiography confirmed the high signal from the 18F-FDG in carotid plaques versus controls. Conclusion: This SBRI system provides high-resolution and sensitive detection of 18F-FDG uptake by murine atherosclerotic plaques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)771-777
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • f-fdg
  • Atherosclerotic model
  • Atherosclerotic plaque
  • Radionuclide imaging
  • Scintillating balloon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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