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RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVE: Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) is upregulated in ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI), persisting after restoration of blood flow. We hypothesized that microparticles of iron oxide targeting VCAM-1 (VCAM-MPIO) would depict "ischemic memory" and enable in vivo assessment of VCAM-1 expression. METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS: Mice subject to unilateral, transient (30 minutes) renal ischemia and subsequent reperfusion received intravenous VCAM-MPIO (4.5 mg iron/kg body weight). Contrast agent bound rapidly (<30 minutes) in IRI-kidneys and appeared as intensely low signal areas by MRI in vivo. Automated segmentation and quantification yielded MPIO contrast volumes of 5991±354×10(6) µm(3) in IRI vs. 87±7×10(6) µm(3) in kidneys with no surgical intervention (P<0.001); 90±8×10(6) µm(3) in IRI kidneys exposed to control (IgG-MPIO) and 625±80×10(6) µm(3), in IRI kidneys pre-treated with a blocking dose of VCAM-1 antibody (P<0.001). In keeping with quantitative MRI data, VCAM-1 mRNA expression in IRI was 65-fold higher than in kidneys without surgical intervention (3.06±0.63 vs. 0.05±0.02, P<0.001). Indeed VCAM-1 mRNA expression and VCAM-MPIO contrast volume were highly correlated (R(2)=0.901, P<0.01), indicating that quantification of contrast volume reflected renal VCAM-1 transcription. Serial imaging showed VCAM-MPIO accumulation at target within 30 minutes, persisting for ≥90 minutes, while unbound VCAM-MPIO was cleared rapidly from blood, with sequestration by mac-3 positive Kupffer cells in the liver and monocyte/macrophages in the spleen. CONCLUSIONS: (1) VCAM-MPIO detected VCAM-1 expression and defined its 3-dimensional distribution, revealing "ischemic memory" in renal IRI; (2) automated volumetric quantification of VCAM-MPIO accurately reflected tissue levels of VCAM-1 mRNA; and (3) VCAM-MPIO bound rapidly to target with active sequestration of unbound MPIO in the liver and spleen.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Animals, Contrast Media, Disease Models, Animal, Ferric Compounds, Gene Expression, Humans, Kidney, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Radiography, Reperfusion Injury, Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1