Atherosclerosis, as a life-threatening cardiovascular disease with chronic inflammation and abnormal lipid enrichment, is often difficult to treat timely due to the lack of obvious symptoms. In this work, a theranostic nanoplatform is constructed for the noninvasive in vivo diagnosis, plaque-formation inhibition and the lesion reversal of atherosclerosis. A three-in-one therapeutic complex is constructed and packaged along with a polymeric photoacoustic probe into nanoparticles named as PLCDP@PMH, which indicates an atherosclerosis-targeting accumulation and a reactive oxygen species (ROS)/matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) dual-responsive degradation. The photoacoustic probe suggests a lesion specific imaging on atherosclerotic mice with accurate and distinct recognition of plaques. At the same time, the three-in-one complex performs an integrated lipid management through the inhibition of macrophages M1-polarization, liver X receptor (LXR)-mediated up-regulation of ATP-binding cassette transporter A1/G1 (ABCA1/G1) and the cyclodextrin-assisted lipid dissolution, which lead to the reduced lipid uptake, enhanced lipid efflux, and actuated lipid removal. The in vivo evaluations reveal that PLCDP@PMH can suppress the lesion progression and further reverse the formed plaques under a diet without high-fat. Hence, PLCDP@PMH provides a candidate for the theranostics of early-stage atherosclerosis and delivers an impressive potential on the reversal of formed atherosclerotic lesions.

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