Author(s): Chang K, Francis SA, Aikawa E, Figueiredo JL, Kohler RH,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effects of pioglitazone (PIO), a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ agonist, on plaque matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) and macrophage (Mac) responses in vivo in a molecular imaging study. METHODS AND RESULTS: In vitro, PIO suppressed MMP-9 protein expression in murine peritoneal Macs (P<0.05). To assess PIO's effects on plaque inflammation, nondiabetic apolipoprotein E(-/-) mice receiving a high-cholesterol diet (HCD) were administered an MMP-activatable fluorescence imaging agent and a spectrally distinct Mac-avid fluorescent nanoparticle. After 24 hours, mice underwent survival dual-target intravital fluorescence microscopy of carotid arterial plaques. These mice were then randomized to HCD or HCD plus 0.012\% PIO for 8 weeks, followed by a second intravital fluorescence microscopy study of the same carotid plaque. In the HCD group, in vivo MMP and Mac target-to-background ratios increased similarly (P<0.01 versus baseline). In contrast, PIO reduced MMP and Mac target-to-background ratios (P<0.01) versus HCD. Changes in MMP and Mac signals correlated strongly (r ≥0.75). Microscopy demonstrated MMP and Mac reductions in PIO-treated mice and a PIO-modulated increase in plaque collagen. CONCLUSIONS: Serial optical molecular imaging demonstrates that plaque MMP and Mac activity in vivo intensify with hypercholesterolemia and are reduced by PIO therapy.
This article was published in Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism