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MRI is well suited for imaging vascular disease as it provides excellent soft tissue contrast and spatial resolution of the vessel wall. By generating potent contrast effects, iron oxide particles further enhance the ability of MRI to deliver functional information in a range of vascular syndromes. Larger microparticles of iron oxide (MPIO) generate sufficient contrast to enable detection of low-abundance vascular targets in vivo. Ligand-conjugated MPIO confer molecular specificity, facilitating molecular imaging of a range of specific endovascular targets. This review discusses the application of iron oxide particles in the molecular imaging of a variety of vascular syndromes. In particular, ligand-conjugated MPIO have been used for targeted molecular imaging in experimental models of atherosclerosis, thrombosis, and tissue ischemia syndromes. This provides a platform for vascular molecular imaging that could accelerate diagnosis, characterize disease progression, and measure response to treatment in a clinical setting. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Original publication




Journal article


Current Cardiovascular Imaging Reports

Publication Date





17 - 23