RNA interference therapy: A new solution for intracranial atherosclerosis?

Xiang Yan Chen, Tao Tang, Ka Sing Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis (ICAS) of a major intracranial artery, especially middle cerebral artery (MCA), is reported to be one leading cause of ischemic stroke throughout the world. Compared with other stroke subtypes, ICAS is associated with a higher risk of recurrent stroke despite aggressive medical therapy. Increased understanding of the pathophysiology of ICAS has highlighted several possible targets for therapeutic interventions. Both luminal stenosis and plaque components of ICAS have been found to be associated with ischemic stroke based a post-mortem study. Recent application of high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (HRMRI) in evaluating ICAS provides new insight into the vascular biology of plaque morphology and component. High signal on T1-weighted fat-suppressed images (HST1) within MCA plaque of HRMRI, highly suggested of fresh or recent intraplaque hemorrhage, has been found to be associated with ipsilateral brain infarction. Thus, the higher prevalence of intraplaque hemorrhage and neovasculature in symptomatic patients with MCA stenosis may provide a potential target for plaque stabilization. We hypothesize that RNA interference (RNAi) therapy delivered by modified nanoparticles may achieve in vivo biomedical imaging and targeted therapy. With the rapid developments in studies about therapeutic and diagnostic nanomaterials, future studies further exploring the molecular biology of atherosclerosis may provide more drug targets for plaque stabilization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number79
JournalAnnals of Translational Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (HRMRI)
  • Intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis (ICAS)
  • Intraplaque hemorrhage
  • Nanoparticle
  • RNA interference (RNAi)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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