Morphology of atherosclerotic coronary arteries

Margaret N. Holme, Georg Schulz, Hans Deyhle, Simone Elke Hieber, Timm Weitkamp, Felix Beckmann, Julia Herzen, Johannes A. Lobrinus, Fabrizio Montecucco, François Mach, Andreas Zumbuehl, Till Saxer, Bert Müller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Atherosclerosis, the narrowing of vessel diameter and build-up of plaques in coronary arteries, leads to an increase in the shear stresses present, which can be used as a physics-based trigger for targeted drug delivery. In order to develop appropriate nanometer-size containers, one has to know the morphology of the critical stenoses with isotropic micrometer resolution. Micro computed tomography in absorption and phase contrast mode provides the necessary spatial resolution and contrast. The present communication describes the pros and cons of the advanced laboratory and synchrotron radiation-based approaches in the visualization of diseased human and murine arteries. Using registered datasets, it also demonstrates that multi-modal imaging, including established histology, is even more powerful. The tomography data were evaluated with respect to cross-section, vessel radius and maximal constriction. The average cross-section of the diseased human artery (2.31 mm2) was almost an order of magnitude larger than the murine one (0.27 mm2), whereas the minimal radius differs only by a factor of two (0.51 mm versus 0.24 mm). The maximal constriction, however, was much larger for the human specimen (85% versus 49%). We could also show that a plastic model used for recent experiments in targeted drug delivery represents a very similar morphology, which is, for example, characterized by a maximal constriction of 82%. The tomography data build a sound basis for flow simulations, which allows for conclusions on shear stress distributions in stenosed blood vessels.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopments in X-Ray Tomography VIII
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventDevelopments in X-Ray Tomography VIII - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 13 Aug 201215 Aug 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceDevelopments in X-Ray Tomography VIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Atherosclerosis: Vessel morphology
  • Histology
  • Human coronary artery
  • Micro computed tomography
  • Mouse model
  • Phase tomography
  • Plaque
  • Shear stress


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