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Computational imaging of aortic vasa vasorum and neovascularization in rabbits using contrast-enhanced intravascular ultrasound: Association with histological analysis [Anatol J Cardiol]
Anatol J Cardiol. 2018; 20(2): 117-124 | DOI: 10.14744/AnatolJCardiol.2018.35761  

Computational imaging of aortic vasa vasorum and neovascularization in rabbits using contrast-enhanced intravascular ultrasound: Association with histological analysis

Manolis Vavuranakis1, Theodore G. Papaioannou1, Dimitrios Vrachatis1, Michael Katsimboulas2, Elias A. Sanidas3, Sophia Vaina1, George Agrogiannis4, Efstratios Patsouris4, Ioannis Kakadiaris5, Christodoulos Stefanadis1, Dimitrios Tousoulis1
1First Department of Cardiology, Hippokration Hospital, Biomedical Engineering Unit, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University; Athens-Greece
2Centre of Clinical, Experimental Surgery and Translational Research, Experimental Surgery Unit, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens; Athens-Greece
3Department of Cardiology, “Laiko” General Hospital; Athens-Greece
4Department of Pathology, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University; Athens-Greece
5Computational Biomedicine Lab, Department of Computer Science, University of Houston; TX-USA

Objective: Neoangiogenesis is pathophysiologically related to atherosclerotic plaque growth and vulnerability. We examined the in vivo performance of a computational method using contrast-enhanced intravascular ultrasound (CE-IVUS) to detect and quantify aortic wall neovascularization in rabbits. We also compared these findings with histological data.
Methods: Nine rabbits were fed with a hyperlipidemic diet. IVUS image sequences were continuously recorded before and after the injection of a contrast agent. Mean enhancement of intensity of a region of interest (MEIR) was calculated using differential imaging algorithm. The percent difference of MEIR before and after the injection of microbubbles (d_MEIR) was used as an index of the density of plaque or/and adventitial neovascularization. Aortic segments were excised for histological analysis.
Results: CE-IVUS and histological analysis were performed in 11 arterial segments. MEIR was significantly increased (~20%) after microbubble injection (from 8.1±0.9 to 9.7±1.8, p=0.016). Segments with increased VV/neovessels in the tunica adventitia (histological scores 2 and 3) had significantly higher d_MEIR compared with segments with low presence of VV/neovessels (score 1); 40.5±22.9 vs. 8±14.6, p=0.024, respectively.
Conclusion: It is possible to detect VV or neovessels in vivo using computational analysis of CE-IVUS images, which is in agreement with histological data. These findings may have critical implications on vulnerable plaque assessment and risk stratification.

Keywords: neoangiogenesis, microbubbles, vulnerable plaque, aorta, atherosclerosis


Manolis Vavuranakis, Theodore G. Papaioannou, Dimitrios Vrachatis, Michael Katsimboulas, Elias A. Sanidas, Sophia Vaina, George Agrogiannis, Efstratios Patsouris, Ioannis Kakadiaris, Christodoulos Stefanadis, Dimitrios Tousoulis. Computational imaging of aortic vasa vasorum and neovascularization in rabbits using contrast-enhanced intravascular ultrasound: Association with histological analysis. Anatol J Cardiol. 2018; 20(2): 117-124

Corresponding Author: Manolis Vavuranakis, Greece


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