Molecular imaging of atherosclerosis: spotlight on Raman spectroscopy and surface-enhanced Raman scattering

MacRitchie, N., Grassia, G., Noonan, J., Garside, P. , Graham, D. and Maffia, P. (2018) Molecular imaging of atherosclerosis: spotlight on Raman spectroscopy and surface-enhanced Raman scattering. Heart, 104(6), pp. 460-467. (doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2017-311447) (PMID:29061690) (PMCID:PMC5861389)

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To accurately predict atherosclerotic plaque progression, a detailed phenotype of the lesion at the molecular level is required. Here, we assess the respective merits and limitations of molecular imaging tools. Clinical imaging includes contrast-enhanced ultrasound, an inexpensive and non-toxic technique but with poor sensitivity. CT benefits from high spatial resolution but poor sensitivity coupled with an increasing radiation burden that limits multiplexing. Despite high sensitivity, positron emission tomography and single-photon emission tomography have disadvantages when applied to multiplex molecular imaging due to poor spatial resolution, signal cross talk and increasing radiation dose. In contrast, MRI is non-toxic, displays good spatial resolution but poor sensitivity. Preclinical techniques include near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF), which provides good spatial resolution and sensitivity; however, multiplexing with NIRF is limited, due to photobleaching and spectral overlap. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy are label-free techniques that detect molecules based on the vibrations of chemical bonds. Both techniques offer fast acquisition times with Raman showing superior spatial resolution. Raman signals are inherently weak; however, leading to the development of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) that offers greatly increased sensitivity due to using metallic nanoparticles that can be functionalised with biomolecules targeted against plaque ligands while offering high multiplexing potential. This asset combined with high spatial resolution makes SERS an exciting prospect as a diagnostic tool. The ongoing refinements of SERS technologies such as deep tissue imaging and portable systems making SERS a realistic prospect for translation to the clinic.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Graham, Professor Duncan and Garside, Professor Paul and MacRitchie, Dr Neil and Noonan, Dr Jonathan and Maffia, Professor Pasquale and Grassia, Dr Gianluca
Authors: MacRitchie, N., Grassia, G., Noonan, J., Garside, P., Graham, D., and Maffia, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
Journal Name:Heart
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):1468-201X
Published Online:23 October 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Heart 104:460-467
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
644661In Situ Nanoparticle Assemblies for Healthcare Diagnostics and TherapyPasquale MaffiaEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/L014165/1III -IMMUNOLOGY
617771BHF centre of excellenceRhian TouyzBritish Heart Foundation (BHF)RE/13/5/30177RI CARDIOVASCULAR & MEDICAL SCIENCES