Atherosclerosis can lead to most cardiovascular diseases. Although some biomimetic nanomaterials coated by macrophage membranes have been reported in previous studies of atherosclerosis, to our knowledge, no studies regarding the detection of early lesions of atherosclerosis (foam cells) using such a strategy have yet been reported. In the present study, FeO biomimetic nanoparticles coated with a macrophage membrane (FeO@M) were prepared to investigate the imaging effect on the early lesions of atherosclerosis (foam cells). The results showed that the FeO@M particles are spheres with average diameters of approximately 300nm. T1 and T2 relaxation values showed that the ratio of r2 to r1 was 26.09. The protein content accounted for approximately 27% of the total weight in FeO@M, and FeO@M nanoparticles exhibited high biosafety. Further testing showed that FeO@M effectively targets early atherosclerotic lesions by the specific recognition of integrin α4β1 to VCAM-1. Taken together, FeO@M is a promising contrast agent for the diagnosis of early stage atherosclerosis.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.