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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 973150, 18 pages
Review Article

Molecular Imaging of Experimental Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA

Received 1 February 2013; Accepted 19 March 2013

Academic Editors: A. Ciarmiello, B. A. Kaufmann, and A. Takano

Copyright © 2013 Aneesh K. Ramaswamy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Current laboratory research in the field of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) disease often utilizes small animal experimental models induced by genetic manipulation or chemical application. This has led to the use and development of multiple high-resolution molecular imaging modalities capable of tracking disease progression, quantifying the role of inflammation, and evaluating the effects of potential therapeutics. In vivo imaging reduces the number of research animals used, provides molecular and cellular information, and allows for longitudinal studies, a necessity when tracking vessel expansion in a single animal. This review outlines developments of both established and emerging molecular imaging techniques used to study AAA disease. Beyond the typical modalities used for anatomical imaging, which include ultrasound (US) and computed tomography (CT), previous molecular imaging efforts have used magnetic resonance (MR), near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF), bioluminescence, single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and positron emission tomography (PET). Mouse and rat AAA models will hopefully provide insight into potential disease mechanisms, and the development of advanced molecular imaging techniques, if clinically useful, may have translational potential. These efforts could help improve the management of aneurysms and better evaluate the therapeutic potential of new treatments for human AAA disease.