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Regional coronary endothelial function is related to local coronary wall thickness in CAD patients using 3T MRI
© Hays et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011
Published: 2 February 2011
Coronary endothelial function (endoFx) is an important physiologic indicator of vascular function. Abnormal function is present in patients with established coronary disease (CAD) and was recently shown to relate to the severity of luminal stenosis.1 However, luminal stenosis occurs late in the process of atherosclerosis, and a the extent to which abnormal coronary endoFx occurs early in atherosclerosis and whether it is related to measures of early, non-stenotic atherosclerosis, such as coronary wall thickness (CWT) are not known. Recent advances in MRI now allow non-invasive assessment of both anatomic (CWT) 2-4 and functional (endoFx) vascular properties that in the past required invasive studies, precluding evaluation of healthy subjects and low risk populations.
To test the hypothesis that local endothelial dependent coronary vasoreactivity is inversely related to coronary wall thickness as measured using MRI.
Fourteen arteries in eleven healthy adults and fourteen arteries in eleven CAD patients with <30% stenosis by recent coronary x-ray angiography were studied with 3T MRI. To measure endoFx, spiral coronary MRI was performed before and during isometric hand-grip exercise, an endothelial-dependent stressor, and coronary cross-sectional area (CSA) change was measured as previously reported.1 For coronary vessel wall imaging, black-blood dual-inversion spiral imaging was used to quantify CWT and normalized wall index (NWI=lumen area/total area).
Both anatomic (CWT) and functional (endoFx) coronary changes can be detected using MRI before the development of stenotic disease and the functional abnormalities are related to the extent of local, early anatomic atherosclerosis (CWT). These findings demonstrate that even at the earliest stage of anatomic coronary atherosclerosis, endothelial-dependent functional changes are present and therefore, could contribute to the local progression of atherosclerosis.
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