Department of Biomedical Engineering, Texas A& M University, College Station, TX, USA; School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
Macrophages play an important role in the development and destabilization of advanced atherosclerotic plaques. Hence, the clinical imaging of macrophage content in advanced plaques could potentially aid in identifying patients most at risk of future clinical events. The lifetime of the autofluorescence emission from atherosclerotic plaques has been correlated with lipids and macrophage accumulation in ex vivo human coronary arteries, suggesting the potential of intravascular endogenous fluorescence or autofluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) for macrophage imaging. The aim of this study was to quantify the accuracy of the coronary intima autofluorescence lifetime to detect superficial macrophage accumulation in atherosclerotic plaques.