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Understanding Atherosclerosis Progression: A Comparative Study of [18F]FDG and Na[18F]F Uptake in Mice

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Ethan Sulliva
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Understanding Atherosclerosis Progression: A Comparative Study of [18F]FDG and Na[18F]F Uptake in Mice

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Exploring Molecular Changes in Atherosclerosis

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Atherosclerosis, a common form of arteriosclerosis, is a condition that arises from the build-up of plaque in the arteries, restricting blood flow and potentially leading to severe complications such as heart attacks or strokes. Understanding the progression of this disease is crucial for the development of effective treatments and preventative measures. In a bid to gain more insights into atherosclerosis progression, a recent study has undertaken a comparative analysis of the uptake of two tracers, 2-deoxy-2-<18F>fluoro-D-glucose (<18F>FDG) and 18F sodium fluoride (Na<18F>F), in a murine model of the disease.

The Study Design

The experiment involved male Apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE) mice and C57 BL/6NtaC (B6) mice, both of which were divided into groups receiving either a normal chow diet or a high-fat Western type diet. The mice were scanned with both tracers at baseline, Week 16, and Week 32. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) scans were used to quantify tracer uptake. After the mice were sacrificed, the aortas were analysed to identify vascular calcification. Statistical analysis was then performed to determine the differences between the groups.

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Key Findings

The study found that the uptake of both <18F>FDG and Na<18F>F increased as the disease progressed over time. This was particularly evident in the abdominal aorta, which provided a robust measure across mouse strain and diet. The findings suggest that the changes in tracer uptake could serve as a reliable marker of disease progression, offering valuable insights into the underlying molecular changes in inflammation and mineralization associated with atherosclerosis.

Implications of the Study

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The results present an opportunity to better understand the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis, and could potentially influence the strategies used for early detection and treatment of the disease. The longitudinal, paired study design allowed the researchers to directly compare the uptake of <18F>FDG and Na<18F>F, providing valuable data on whether a wild-type mouse strain (B6) can be used for studies of atherogenesis or if it is necessary to use the genetically modified ApoE mouse.

Further Applications

The study's findings can also be applied to other areas of medical research and practice. For instance, the quantification of tracer uptake in aortic segments could be used as a diagnostic tool or in the staging of lung and mediastinal malignancies. Additionally, the interventional diagnostic and treatment options for lung cancer could potentially benefit from the insights gained from this study in terms of the multidisciplinary approach and innovations in the field.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the study offers a promising avenue for the assessment of atherosclerosis progression via molecular changes in inflammation and mineralization. Although further research is needed to validate these findings, the study highlights the potential of using <18F>FDG and Na<18F>F uptake as a marker of disease progression, contributing to our understanding of atherosclerosis and guiding the development of more effective therapeutic strategies.

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