The aim of the study was to determine whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used in assessment of biologic activity of intraluminal thrombus (ILT) and proteolytic processes of the abdominal aortic aneurysm wall. Using MRI, 50 patients with asymptomatic infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysm were analyzed at the maximum aneurysm diameter on T1-weighted images in the arterial phase after administration of contrast material. Relative ILT signal intensity (SI) was determined as the ratio between ILT SI and psoas muscle SI. During surgery, the full thickness of the ILT and the adjacent part of the aneurysm wall were harvested at the maximal diameter for biochemical analysis. The concentrations of matrix metalloproteinase 9 and neutrophil elastase (NE/ELA) were analyzed in harvested thrombi, and the concentrations of collagen type III, elastin, and proteoglycans were analyzed in harvested aneurysm walls. These findings indicate a potential novel use of MRI in prediction of thrombus proteolytic enzyme concentrations and the extracellular matrix content of the aneurysm wall, thus providing additional information for the risk of potential aneurysm rupture. 

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