Exploring Targeted Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound to Detect Neural Inflammation: An Example of Standard Nomenclature

K. R. Volz, K. D. Evans, C. D. Kanner, D. M. Basso
Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography2016
Targeted contrast-enhanced ultrasound (TCEUS) is an innovative method of molecular imaging used for detection of inflammatory biomarkers in vivo. By targeting ultrasound contrast to cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), which are known inflammatory markers within neural tissue, a more direct evaluation of neural inflammation can be made. Due to the novel nature of TCEUS, standardized methods of image analysis do not yet exist. Time intensity curve (TIC) shape analysis is currently used in magnetic resonance contrast imaging to determine temporal behavior of perfusion. Therefore, the presented research attempts to determine TIC shape analysis utility in TCEUS imaging by applying it to TCEUS scans targeted to CAMs present in neural inflammation. This was done in an animal model that underwent a traumatic spinal cord injury to induce inflammation (n = 31). Subjects were divided into four groups, each receiving a TCEUS targeted to a different CAM seven days after surgery (P-selectin, intracellular adhesion molecule 1 [ICAM-1], vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 [VCAM-1], and control). TICs were generated using average pixel intensity within the injured region of the spinal cord. TIC shape analysis found similar curves were produced while targeting P-selectin and VCAM-1, both demonstrating rapid and sustained enhancement. Control injections demonstrated no enhancement. ICAM-1 injections demonstrated limited enhancement and a shape similar to the control.

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