An abdominal aortic aneurysm can have a number of related causes, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are one of those potential causes. MMP matrix enzymes have a useful role in a healthy body of breaking up the extracellular matrix during tissue growth, but sometimes they’re overproduced and are related to various connective tissue disorders, including abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). Their role is poorly understood in AAA formation, especially how to address an increase in MMPs clinically.
Now Yale researchers have developed a new nuclear imaging tracer that can be used to track the quantity of MMPs. The research depended on the creation of a water-soluble MMP inhibitor that allowed the sticking of a Technetium-99m radioisotope to the MMPs. Technetium-99m, being the most commonly used imaging tracer in the world these days, is readily seen in any facility with a SPECT/CT system.
So far the tracer has been used to analyse the relevant anatomy of mice, soon hopefully extending the findings in humans. “Studies in mouse models of aneurysm showed that that this tracer allows for imaging vessel wall biology with high sensitivity and specificity, and aortic tracer uptake in vivo correlates with vessel wall inflammation,” in a statement said Mehran M. Sadeghi, MD, Yale Cardiovascular Research Center and West Haven VA Medical Center.
The hope is that being able to track MMPs will allow doctors to better manage and even predict AAAs, allowing for patients to have more preventative and therapeutic options available to them.
Study in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine: Preclinical Evaluation of RYM1, a Matrix Metalloproteinase–Targeted Tracer for Imaging Aneurysm…