Nanoparticle contrast agents for MRI may aid in identifying atherosclerotic lesions that give rise to ischemic events by means of penetration and retention in the plaque. These imaging agents may provide valuable information regarding plaque characteristics which can help determine the risk of plaque rupture. By increasing molecular flexibility or adding a means of specifically targeting ligands via antibody or peptide, nanoparticles can enhance certain regions of the atherosclerotic plaque. The development of single contrast agents detectable with multiple imaging modalities may further improve our ability to detect and characterize atherosclerosis in clinical and preclinical applications. These exciting developments may help in the realization of MRI as a powerful tool in the prevention of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
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