Acute pneumonia can greatly increase the vulnerable risk of atherosclerotic plaque and contribute to the mortality of cardiovascular disease. To accurately assess the rupture risk caused by acute pneumonia, we developed a novel kind of ratiometric semiconducting polymer nanoparticle (RSPN) for photoacoustic imaging of vulnerable plaque in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice complicated with pneumonia. Specifically, RSPN can react with O2•- and exhibit the enhanced photoacoustic signals at about 690 nm, while 800 nm is regarded as an internal photoacoustic reference. As a result, RSPN can provide reliable determination of O2•- within aortic atherosclerosis by analyzing the ratios of photoacoustic signals, which can successfully reflect the oxidative stress level in vulnerable plaque. Therefore, RSPN enable to specifically distinguish plaque-bearing mice and plaque-bearing mice complicated with pneumonia from healthy mice, which provides a promising tool to predict the vulnerability of plaque for reducing the mortality of atherosclerotic-induced cardiovascular disease.

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