Coronary high-signal-intensity plaques on T 1 -weighted magnetic resonance imaging reflect intraplaque hemorrhage

Yasuyoshi Kuroiwa, Akiko Uchida, Atsushi Yamashita, Tosiaki Miyati, Kazunari Maekawa, Toshihiro Gi, Teruo Noguchi, Satoshi Yasuda, Takuroh Imamura, Yujiro Asada

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Coronary high-signal-intensity plaques (HIPs) detected by T 1 -weighted magnetic resonance imaging are associated with future cardiovascular events. This study aimed to identify pathological findings reflecting HIPs in coronary arteries obtained from autopsy cases. Formalin-fixed hearts were imaged with noncontrast T 1 -weighted imaging with a 1.5-T magnetic resonance system. We defined HIPs or non-HIPs as a coronary plaque to myocardial signal intensity ratio (PMR) of ≥1.4 or <1.4, respectively. We found HIPs in 4 of 37 (10.8%) hearts and analyzed 7 hearts in detail. The corresponding sections to HIPs (n=11) or non-HIPs (n=25) were histologically and immunohistochemically analyzed. We calculated the T 1 relaxation time of human venous blood in vitro. Plaque and necrotic core areas, and the frequency of intraplaque hemorrhage in HIPs were significantly larger/higher than those in non-HIPs. HIPs were immunopositive for CD68 (11/11), glycophorin A (10/11), and fibrin (11/11). Glycophorin-A-, matrix metalloprotease 9 (MMP9)-, and tissue factor-immunopositive areas were larger in HIPs than in non-HIPs. The PMR was positively correlated with glycophorin-A-, fibrin-, MMP9-, and tissue factor-immunopositive areas. Blood coagulation shortened the T 1 relaxation time of the blood and plasma, and the T 1 relaxation times in coagulated whole blood and erythrocyte-rich blood were significantly shorter than those in plasma. Coronary HIPs may reflect intraplaque hemorrhage and may be a novel marker for plaque instability and thrombogenic potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-31
Number of pages8
JournalCardiovascular Pathology
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 1


  • Coronary artery
  • Erythrocyte
  • Intraplaque hemorrhage
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • T -weighted image


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