Imaging Reveals the Connection Between Spontaneous Coronary Plaque Ruptures, Atherothrombosis, and Myocardial Infarctions in HypoE/SRBI-/- Mice
Journal of Nuclear Medicine
The hyperlipidemic mouse model HypoE/SRBI −/− has been shown to develop occlusive coronary atherosclerosis followed by myocardial infarctions and premature deaths in response to high-fat, highcholesterol diet (HFC). However, the causal connection between myocardial infarctions and atherosclerotic plaque rupture events in the coronary arteries has not been investigated so far. The objective of this study was to assess whether diet-induced coronary plaque ruptures trigger atherothrombotic
... othrombotic occlusions, resulting in myocardial infarctions in HFC-fed HypoE/SRBI −/− mice. Methods: HypoE/SRBI −/− mice were characterized with respect to the individual dynamics of myocardial infarctions and features of infarct-related coronary atherosclerosis by serial noninvasive molecular and functional imaging, histopathology, and a pharmaceutical intervention. Detailed histologic analysis of whole mouse hearts was performed when spontaneously occurring acute myocardial infarctions were diagnosed by imaging. Results: Using the imaging-triggered approach, we discovered thrombi in 32 (10.8%) of all 296 atherosclerotic coronary plaques in 14 HFC-fed HypoE/SRBI −/− mice. These thrombi typically were found in arteries presenting with inflammatory plaque phenotypes. Acetylsalicylic acid treatment did not attenuate the development of atherosclerotic coronary plaques but profoundly reduced the incidence of premature deaths, the number of thrombi (7 in 249 plaques), and also the degree of inflammation in the culprit lesions. Conclusion: HFC-induced ruptures of coronary plaques trigger atherothrombosis, vessel occlusions, myocardial infarctions, and sudden death in these mice. Thus, the HypoE/SRBI −/− mouse model mimics major features of human coronary heart disease and might therefore be a valuable model for the investigation of molecular and cellular parameters driving plaque rupture-related events and the development of new interventional approaches.