Cardiovascular disease due to atherosclerosis is still the main cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. This disease is a complex systemic disorder arising from a network of pathological processes within the arterial vessel wall, and, outside of the vasculature, in the hematopoietic system and organs involved in metabolism. Recent years have seen tremendous efforts in the development and validation of quantitative imaging technologies for the noninvasive evaluation of patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Specifically, the advent of combined positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scanners has opened new exciting opportunities in cardiovascular imaging. In this review, we will describe how combined positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging scanners can be leveraged to evaluate atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease at the whole-body level, with specific focus on preclinical animal models of disease, from mouse to nonhuman primates. We will broadly describe 3 major areas of application: (1) vascular imaging, for advanced atherosclerotic plaque phenotyping and evaluation of novel imaging tracers or therapeutic interventions; (2) assessment of the ischemic heart and brain; and (3) whole-body imaging of the hematopoietic system. Finally, we will provide insights on potential novel technical developments which may further increase the relevance of integrated positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging in preclinical atherosclerosis studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1123-1134
Number of pages12
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2020


  • anomedicine
  • atherosclerosis
  • cardiovascular disease
  • immunity
  • ischemic stroke
  • myocardial infarction
  • positron emission tomography


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