Targeting of matrix metalloproteinase activation for noninvasive detection of vulnerable atherosclerotic lesions
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- Hartung, D., Schäfers, M., Fujimoto, S. et al. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging (2007) 34: 1. doi:10.1007/s00259-007-0435-0
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Inflammation plays an important role in vulnerability of atherosclerotic plaques to rupture and hence acute coronary events. The monocyte–macrophage infiltration in plaques leads to upregulation of cytokines and metalloproteinase enzymes.
Matrix metalloproteinases result in matrix dissolution and consequently expansive remodeling of the vessel. They also contribute to attenuation of fibrous cap and hence susceptibility to rupture. Assessment of metalloproteinase expression and activity should provide information about plaque instability.