In vivo multiplex molecular imaging of vascular inflammation using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

Jonathan Noonan, Steven Asiala, Gianluca Grassia, Neil MacRitchie, Kirsten Gracie, Jake Carson, Matthew Moores, Mark Girolami, Angela Bradshaw, Thomas J. Guzik, Gavin R. Meehan, Hannah Scales, James M. Brewer, Iain B. McInnes, Naveed Sattar, Karen Faulds, Paul Garside, Duncan Graham, Pasquale Maffia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
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Vascular immune-inflammatory responses play a crucial role in the progression and outcome of atherosclerosis. The ability to assess localized inflammation through detection of specific vascular inflammatory biomarkers would significantly improve cardiovascular risk assessment and management; however, no multi parameter molecular imaging technologies have been established to date. Here, we report the targeted in vivo imaging of multiple vascular biomarkers using antibody-functionalized nanoparticles and surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS).
Methods: A series of antibody-functionalized gold nanoprobes (BFNP) were designed containing unique Raman signals in order to detect intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) and P-selectin using SERS.
Results: SERS and BFNP were utilized to detect, discriminate and quantify ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and P-selectin in vitro on human endothelial cells and ex vivo in human coronary arteries. Ultimately, non-invasive multiplex imaging of adhesion molecules in a humanized mouse model was demonstrated in vivo following intravenous injection of the nanoprobes.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that multiplexed SERS-based molecular imaging can indicate the status of vascular inflammation in vivo and gives promise for SERS as a clinical imaging technique for cardiovascular disease in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6195-6209
Number of pages15
Issue number22
Early online date29 Nov 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Nov 2018


  • atherosclerosis
  • molecular imaging
  • multiplexing
  • vascular inflammation
  • surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)


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