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Morphology of atherosclerotic coronary arteries

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2012
Author Holme Margaret N., Schulz Georg, Deyhle Hans, Hieber Simone Elke, Weitkamp Timm, Beckmann Felix, Herzen Julia, Lobrinus Johannes Alexander, Montecucco Fabrizio, Mach François, Zumbuehl Andreas, Saxer Till, Müller Bert H.,
Project Approaches for Non-spherical and Surface Activated Liposomes
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume (Issue) 8506
Page(s) 85609
Title of proceedings Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
DOI 10.1117/12.930052


Atherosclerosis, the narrowing of vessel diameter and build-up of plaques in coronary arteries, leads to an increase in the shear stresses present, which can be used as a physics-based trigger for targeted drug delivery. In order to develop appropriate nanometer-size containers, one has to know the morphology of the critical stenoses with isotropic micrometer resolution. Micro computed tomography in absorption and phase contrast mode provides the necessary spatial resolution and contrast. The present communication describes the pros and cons of the advanced laboratory and synchrotron radiation-based approaches in the visualization of diseased human and murine arteries. Using registered datasets, it also demonstrates that multi-modal imaging, including established histology, is even more powerful. The tomography data were evaluated with respect to cross-section, vessel radius and maximal constriction. The average cross-section of the diseased human artery (2.31 mm2) was almost an order of magnitude larger than the murine one (0.27 mm2), whereas the minimal radius differs only by a factor of two (0.51 mm versus 0.24 mm). The maximal constriction, however, was much larger for the human specimen (85% versus 49%). We could also show that a plastic model used for recent experiments in targeted drug delivery represents a very similar morphology, which is, for example, characterized by a maximal constriction of 82%. The tomography data build a sound basis for flow simulations, which allows for conclusions on shear stress distributions in stenosed blood vessels. © 2012 SPIE.