Large-vessel vasculitis (LVV), characterized by inflammation of the aorta and its major branches, is the most common primary vasculitis in adults. As LVV is a slowly progressing disease, frequent follow-ups for angiography are essential to detect new or worsening arterial damage during disease progression. Using 18F-flurodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and noninvasive angiography, this study characterized for the first time the relationship between angiographic disease progression and vascular FDG-PET activity in people with LVV. Lack of PET activity was strongly associated with a stable angiogram over time. Few areas with PET activity showed angiographic change over time, but in cases where changes occurred, they were almost always preceded by vascular PET activity.

What is exciting about this article?

This article provides some of the first and only available data about the direct relationship between FDG-PET activity and angiographic change in LVV. The clinical researchers performed prospective clinical and imaging assessments using a standardized research protocol to evaluate people with Takayasu’s arteritis and giant cell arteritis in the cohort. These data will be important to inform future recommendations for using imaging to monitor LVV and to guide clinical management of the disease.  

How does this fit into the larger NIAMS portfolio?

This study was made possible by the unique resources available at the NIH Clinical Center.  Studying vascular inflammation using advanced molecular imaging requires a multidisciplinary team of investigators. Incorporation of advanced molecular imaging into research studies and clinical practice is a useful method to visualize inflammation.

Grant support


Research Areas:

Autoimmunity Clinical Research Computational Biology Genetics and Genomics Immunology


Association of (18) F-Fluorodeoxyglucose-Positron Emission Tomography Activity With Angiographic Progression of Disease in Large Vessel Vasculitis.

Quinn KA, Ahlman MA, Alessi HD, LaValley MP, Neogi T, Marko J, Novakovich E, Grayson PC
Arthritis Rheumatol.
2023 Jan;
doi: 10.1002/art.42290
PMID: 35792044

Research reported in this publication was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NIHʼs National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.