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Multimodal CARS microscopy determination of the impact of diet on macrophage infiltration and lipid accumulation on plaque formation in ApoE-deficient mice

Abstract
We characterized several cellular and structural features of early stage Type II/III atherosclerotic plaques in an established model of atherosclerosis-the ApoE-deficient mouse-by using a multimodal, coregistered imaging system that integrates three nonlinear optical microscopy (NLOM) contrast mechanisms: coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS), second harmonic generation (SHG), and two-photon excitation fluorescence (TPEF). Specifically, the infiltration of lipid-rich macrophages and the structural organization of collagen and elastin fibers were visualized by CARS, SHG, and TPEF, respectively, in thick tissue specimens without the use of exogenous labels or dyes. Label-free CARS imaging of macrophage accumulation was confirmed by histopathology using CD68 staining. A high-fat, high-cholesterol Western diet resulted in an approximate 2-fold increase in intimal plaque area, defined by CARS signals of lipid-rich macrophages. Additionally, analysis of collagen distribution within lipid-rich plaque regions revealed nearly a 4-fold decrease in the Western diet-fed mice, suggesting NLOM sensitivity to increased matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity and decreased smooth muscle cell (SMC) accumulation. These imaging results provide significant insight into the structure and composition of early stage Type II/III plaque during formation and allow for quantitative measurements of the impact of diet and other factors on critical plaque and arterial wall features.

Citation
Lim RS, Kratzer A, Barry NP, Miyazaki-Anzai S, Miyazaki M, Mantulin WW, Levi M, Potma EO, Tromberg BJ. Multimodal CARS microscopy determination of the impact of diet on macrophage infiltration and lipid accumulation on plaque formation in ApoE-deficient mice. J Lipid Res. 2010 Jul;51(7):1729-37. Epub 2010 Mar 5. PMC2882730

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