Genesis and dynamics of atherosclerotic lesions: Implications for early detection

Juan Jose Badimon, Borja Ibanez, Giovanni Cimmino

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46 Scopus citations


Atherosclerosis is a diffuse pathological process characterized by the deposition of lipid and other blood-borne material within the arterial wall of almost all vascular territories. Cholesterol accumulation plays a central role in atherogenesis. It is the result of an imbalance between cholesterol influx and efflux. The disease progresses silently with focal clinical manifestation due to plaque rupture with superimposed thrombus: atherothrombosis. It has been shown that the atherosclerotic plaque composition rather than the degree of arterial stenosis can be the determinant of rupture. This has led to the search for new imaging techniques that can provide information about plaque composition. Ultrasound measurements of carotid and aortic wall thickness are an accurate 'noninvasive' technique that permits correlation with clinical events. Magnetic resonance imaging can evaluate in detail the arterial anatomy of almost all vascular territories. Multidetector computed tomography recently emerged for measuring luminal stenosis, coronary calcium, and even the extent of non-calcified coronary plaque volume. Next future is the molecular imaging based on the knowledge of molecular mechanisms involved in the genesis and progression of atherosclerotic lesions and the contrast agent able to identify different molecules and/or cells in the target zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-47
Number of pages10
JournalCerebrovascular Diseases
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Imaging
  • Lipoproteins
  • Thrombosis
  • Vulnerable lesion


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