Laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) is a powerful tool for non-invasive, real-time imaging of blood flow in tissue. However, the effect of tissue geometry on the form of the electric field autocorrelation function and speckle contrast values is yet to be investigated. In this paper, we present an ultrafast forward model for simulating a speckle contrast image with the ability to rapidly update the image for a desired illumination pattern and flow perturbation. We demonstrate the first simulated speckle contrast image and compare it against experimental results. We simulate three mouse-specific cerebral cortex decorrelation time images and implement three different schemes for analyzing the effects of homogenization of vascular structure on correlation decay times. Our results indicate that dissolving structure and assuming homogeneous geometry creates up to ∼ 10x shift in the correlation function decay times and alters its form compared with the case for which the exact geometry is simulated. These effects are more pronounced for point illumination and detection imaging schemes, highlighting the significance of accurate modeling of the three-dimensional vascular geometry for accurate blood flow estimates.
Here, we present a three-dimensional two-color dual-particle tracking (3D-2C-DPT) technique that can simultaneously localize two spectrally distinct targets in three dimensions with a time resolution down to 5 ms. The dual-targets can be tracked with separation distances from 33 to 250 nm with tracking precisions of ∼15 nm (for static targets) and ∼35 nm (for freely diffusing targets). Since each target is individually localized, a wealth of data can be extracted, such as the relative 3D position, the 2D rotation, and the separation distance between the two targets. Using this technique, we turn a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA)-linked dumbbell-like dimer into a nanoscopic optical ruler to quantify the bending dynamics of nicked or gapped dsDNA molecules in free solution by manipulating the design of dsDNA linkers (1-nick, 3-nt, 6-nt, or 9-nt single-strand gap), and the results show the increase of kon (linear to bent) from 3.2 to 10.7 s–1. The 3D-2C-DPT is then applied to observe translational and rotational motions of the landing of an antibody-conjugated nanoparticle on the plasma membrane of living cells, revealing the reduction of rotations possibly due to interactions with membrane receptors. This study demonstrates that this 3D-2C-DPT technique is a new tool to shed light on the conformational changes of biomolecules and the intermolecular interactions on plasma membrane.
Anesthetized animal models are used extensively during neurophysiological and behavioral studies despite systemic effects from anesthesia that undermine both accurate interpretation and translation to awake human physiology. In this paper, we characterize the impact of isoflurane on cerebral blood flow (CBF) during the induction of general anesthesia in awake mice using multi-exposure speckle imaging (MESI). We highlight the large anatomical changes caused by the vasodilatory inhalant with wide-field imagery and quantify the cortical hemodynamics with MESI across multiple subjects and imaging sessions. Compared to the awake state, we measured, on average, an 18% increase in surface vessel diameter accompanied by a 135% increase in vascular flux and 92% increase in parenchyma perfusion. These large alterations to the cortical vasculature and CBF are unrepresentative of normal physiology and provide further evidence that neuroscience experiments would benefit from transitioning to un-anesthetized awake animal models.
Recent advances in two-photon microscopy (2PM) have allowed large scale imaging and analysis of cortical blood vessel networks in living mice. However, extracting a network graph and vector representations for vessels remain bottlenecks in many applications. Vascular vectorization is algorithmically difficult because blood vessels have many shapes and sizes, the samples are often unevenly illuminated, and large image volumes are required to achieve good statistical power. State-of-the-art, three-dimensional, vascular vectorization approaches require a segmented/binary image, relying on manual or supervised-machine annotation. Therefore, voxel-by-voxel image segmentation is biased by the human annotator/trainer. Furthermore, segmented images oftentimes require remedial morphological filtering before skeletonization/vectorization. To address these limitations, we propose a vectorization method to extract vascular objects directly from unsegmented images. The Segmentation-Less, Automated, Vascular Vectorization (SLAVV) source code in MATLAB is openly available on GitHub. This novel method uses simple models of vascular anatomy, efficient linear filtering, and low-complexity vector extraction algorithms to remove the image segmentation requirement, replacing it with manual or automated vector classification. SLAVV is demonstrated on three in vivo 2PM image volumes of microvascular networks (capillaries, arterioles and venules) in the mouse cortex. Vectorization performance is proven robust to the choice of plasma- or endothelial-labeled contrast, and processing costs are shown to scale with input image volume. Fully-automated SLAVV performance is evaluated on various, simulated 2PM images based on the large, [1.4, 0.9, 0.6] mm input image, and performance metrics show greater robustness to image quality than an intensity-based thresholding approach.
Ischemic stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the world. Recent advances in acute stroke care have dramatically improved clinicians’ abilities to reperfuse occluded blood vessels. With these advances, the importance of adjunctive therapies to supplement or complement reperfusion therapy is receiving greater interest. Cerebral collateral circulation is one of such area that is now gaining greater interest in acute stroke care. In this study, we investigate the use of peripheral electrical stimulation to induce functional hyperemia in a mouse animal model in the setting of acute stroke. Using a laser speckle contrast imaging system, we evaluated the use of peripheral electrical stimulation at 1 hour and 3 hours after stroke induction. Results demonstrated that stimulation initiated 1 hour following stroke significantly increase collateral cerebral blood flow, while stimulation at 3 hours after stroke had no appreciable effect. These results suggest that augmentation cerebral collateral circulation may be possible in the setting of acute stroke although there may be a critical time window in which this would have to be initiated.
Neurovascular coupling, the close spatial and temporal relationship between neural activity and hemodynamics, is disrupted in pathological brain states. To understand the altered neurovascular relationship in brain disorders, longitudinal, simultaneous mapping of neural activity and hemodynamics is critical yet challenging to achieve. Here, we use a multimodal neural platform in a mouse model of stroke and realize long-term, spatially resolved tracking of intracortical neural activity and cerebral blood flow in the same brain regions. We observe a pronounced neurovascular dissociation that occurs immediately after small-scale strokes, becomes the most severe a few days after, lasts into chronic periods, and varies with the level of ischemia. Neuronal deficits extend spatiotemporally, whereas restoration of cerebral blood flow occurs sooner and reaches a higher relative value. Our findings reveal the neurovascular impact of ministrokes and inform the limitation of neuroimaging techniques that infer neural activity from hemodynamic responses.
Spontaneous Raman micro‐spectroscopy has been demonstrated great potential in delineating tumor margins; however, it is limited by slow acquisition speed. We describe a superpixel acquisition approach that can expedite acquisition between ~×100 and ×10 000, as compared to point‐by‐point scanning by trading off spatial resolution. We present the first demonstration of superpixel acquisition on rapid discrimination of basal cell carcinoma tumor from eight patients undergoing Mohs micrographic surgery. Results have been demonstrated high discriminant power for tumor vs normal skin based on the biochemical differences between nucleus, collagen, keratin and ceramide. We further perform raster‐scanned superpixel Raman imaging on positive and negative margin samples. Our results indicate superpixel acquisition can facilitate the use of Raman microspectroscopy as a rapid and specific tool for tumor margin assessment.
Advanced prostate cancer is a very heterogeneous disease reflecting in diverse regulations of oncogenic signaling pathways. Aberrant spatial dynamics of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) promote their dimerization and clustering, leading to constitutive activation in oncogenesis. The EphB2 and Src signaling pathways are associated with the reorganization of the cytoskeleton leading to malignancy, but their roles in regulating EGFR dynamics and activation are scarcely reported. Using single-particle tracking techniques, we found that highly phosphorylated EGFR in the advanced prostate cancer cell line, PC3, was associated with higher EGFR diffusivity, as compared with LNCaP and less aggressive DU145. The increased EGFR activation and biophysical dynamics were consistent with high proliferation, migration, and invasion. After performing single-cell RNA-seq on prostate cancer cell lines and circulating tumor cells from patients, we identified that upregulated gene expression in the EphB2 and Src pathways are associated with advanced malignancy. After dasatinib treatment or siRNA knockdowns of EphB2 or Src, the PC3 cells exhibited significantly lower EGFR dynamics, cell motility, and invasion. Partial inhibitory effects were also found in DU145 cells. The upregulation of parts of the EphB2 and Src pathways also predicts poor prognosis in the prostate cancer patient cohort of The Cancer Genome Atlas. Our results provide evidence that overexpression of the EphB2 and Src signaling pathways regulate EGFR dynamics and cellular aggressiveness in some advanced prostate cancer cells.
After subtotal infarcts of primary motor cortex (M1), motor rehabilitative training (RT) promotes improvements in paretic forelimb function that have been linked with its promotion of structural and functional reorganization of peri-infarct cortex, but how the reorganization unfolds is scantly understood. Cortical infarcts also instigate a prolonged period of dendritic spine turnover in peri-infarct cortex. Here we investigated the possibility that synaptic structural responses to RT in peri-infarct cortex reflect, in part, interactions with ischemia instigated spine turnover. This was tested after artery-targeted photothrombotic M1 infarcts or sham procedures in adult (4-mo) C57/BL6 male and female GFP-M line (n=25) and male YFP-H line (n=5) mice undergoing RT in skilled reaching or no-training control procedures. Regardless of training condition, spine turnover was increased out to 5 weeks post-infarct relative to sham, as was the persistence of new spines formed within a week post-infarct. However, compared with no-training controls, new spines formed during post-infarct weeks 2-4 in mice undergoing RT persisted in much greater proportions to later time points, by a magnitude that predicted behavioral improvements in the RT group. These results indicate that RT interacts with ischemia-instigated spine turnover to promote preferential stabilization of newly formed spines, which is likely to yield a new population of mature synapses in peri-infarct cortex that could contribute to cortical functional reorganization and behavioral improvement. The findings newly implicate ischemia-instigated spine turnover as a mediator of cortical synaptic structural responses to RT and newly establish the experience-dependency of new spine fates in the post-ischemic turnover context.
Conventional, degenerate multiphoton microscopy (D-MPM) requires the use of a high-numerical-aperture (NA) objective. Nondegenerate MPM (ND-MPM) imposes the additional demand for precise spatiotemporal overlap of two distinct excitation sources. We demonstrate that the axial focal shift introduced by refractive objective chromatic aberration hinders the spatial requirement of ND-MPM, whereas the use of a reflective objective overcomes this challenge and allows for improved ND excitation efficiency in spite of a lower NA. Moreover, we demonstrate that reflective objective focusing eliminates the axial misregistration of volumetric stacks in traditional D-MPM experiments when multiple excitation wavelengths are used.
Derailed transmembrane receptor trafficking could be a hallmark of tumorigenesis and increased tumor invasiveness, but receptor dynamics have not been used to differentiate metastatic cancer cells from less invasive ones. Using single-particle tracking techniques, we developed a phenotyping assay named Transmembrane Receptor Dynamics (TReD), studied the dynamics of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in seven breast epithelial cell lines and developed a phenotyping assay named Transmembrane Receptor Dynamics (TReD). Here we show a clear evidence that increased EGFR diffusivity and enlarged EGFR confinement size in the plasma membrane (PM) are correlated with the enhanced metastatic potential in these cell lines. By comparing the TReD results with the gene expression profiles, we found a clear negative correlation between the EGFR diffusivities and the breast cancer luminal differentiation scores (r = −0.75). Upon the induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), EGFR diffusivity significantly increased for the non-tumorigenic MCF10A (99%) and the non-invasive MCF7 (56%) cells, but not for the highly metastatic MDA-MB-231 cell. We believe that the reorganization of actin filaments during EMT modified the PM structures, causing the receptor dynamics to change. TReD can thus serve as a new biophysical marker to probe the metastatic potential of cancer cells and even to monitor the transition of metastasis.
The photothrombotic stroke model generates localized and reproducible ischemic infarcts that are useful for studying recovery mechanisms, but its failure to produce a substantial ischemic penumbra weakens its resemblance to human stroke. We examined whether a modification of this approach, confining photodamage to arteries on the cortical surface (artery-targeted photothrombosis), could better reproduce aspects of the penumbra. Following artery-targeted or traditional photothrombosis to the motor cortex of mice, post-ischemic cerebral blood flow was measured using multi-exposure speckle imaging at 6, 48, and 120 h post-occlusion. Artery-targeted photothrombosis produced a more graded penumbra at 48 and 120 h. The density of isolectin B4+ vessels in peri-infarct cortex was similarly increased after both types of infarcts compared to sham at 2 weeks. These results indicate that both models instigated post-ischemic vascular structural changes. Finally, we determined whether the strength of the traditional photothrombotic approach for modeling upper-extremity motor impairments extends to the artery-targeted approach. In adult mice that were proficient in a skilled reaching task, small motor-cortical infarcts impaired skilled-reaching performance for up to 10 days. These results support that artery-targeted photothrombosis widens the penumbra while maintaining the ability to create localized infarcts useful for modeling post-stroke impairments.
Deep in vivo imaging of vasculature requires small, bright, and photostable fluorophores suitable for multiphoton microscopy (MPM). Although semiconducting polymer dots (pdots) are an emerging class of highly fluorescent contrast agents with favorable advantages for the next generation of in vivo imaging, their use for deep MPM has never before been demonstrated. Herein, we characterize the multiphoton properties of three pdot variants and perform deep in vivo MPM imaging of cortical rodent microvasculature. We find pdot brightness exceeds conventional fluorophores, including quantum dots, and their broad multiphoton absorption spectrum permits imaging at wavelengths better-suited for biological imaging and confers compatibility with a range of longer excitation wavelengths. This results in substantial improvements in signal-to-background ratio (>3.5-fold) and greater cortical imaging depths (z = 1,300 µm). Ultimately, pdots are a versatile tool for MPM due to their extraordinary brightness and broad absorption, enabling interrogation of deep structures in vivo.
Background Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) in awake behaving mice is well positioned to bridge the detailed cellular-level view of brain activity, which has become available due to recent advances in microscopic optical imaging and genetics, to the macroscopic scale of human noninvasive observables. However, while microscopic (e.g., 2-photon imaging) studies in behaving mice have become a reality in many laboratories, awake mouse fMRI remains a challenge. Furthermore, due to variability in behavior between animals, performing all types of measurements within the same subject is highly desirable and can lead to higher scientific rigor. Methods Here, we demonstrate Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) fMRI in awake mice implanted with chronic “cranial windows” that allow optical access for microscopic imaging modalities and optogenetic (OG) stimulation. We start with 2-photon imaging of single-vessel diameter changes (N=1). Next, we implement intrinsic optical imaging of blood oxygenation and flow combined with laser speckle imaging of blood flow obtaining a “mesoscopic” picture of the hemodynamic response (N=16). Then, we obtain corresponding BOLD fMRI data (N=5). All measurements can be performed in the same mice in response to identical sensory and OG stimuli. Results The cranial window does not deteriorate the quality of fMRI and allows alternating between imaging modalities in each subject. Conclusions This report provides a proof of feasibility for multiscale imaging approaches in awake mice. In the future, this protocol can be extended to include complex cognitive behaviors translatable to humans, such as sensory discrimination or attention.
Optical manipulation of colloidal nanoparticles and molecules is significant in numerous fields. Opto-thermoelectric nanotweezers exploiting multiple coupling among light, heat, and electric fields enables the low-power optical trapping of nanoparticles on a plasmonic substrate. However, the management of light-to-heat conversion for the versatile and precise manipulation of nanoparticles is still elusive. Herein, we explore the opto-thermoelectric trapping at plasmonic antennas that serve as optothermal nanoradiators to achieve the low-power (∼0.08 mW/μm2) and deterministic manipulation of nanoparticles. Specifically, precise optical manipulation of nanoparticles is achieved via optical control of the subwavelength thermal hot spots. We employ a femtosecond laser beam to further improve the heat localization and the precise trapping of single ∼30 nm semiconductor quantum dots at the antennas where the plasmon–exciton coupling can be tuned. With its low-power, precise, and versatile particle control, the opto-thermoelectric manipulation can have applications in photonics, life sciences, and colloidal sciences.
Background and Purpose— VWF (von Willebrand factor) strings mediate spontaneous platelet adhesion in the vascular lumen, which may lead to microthrombi formation and contribute to stroke pathology. However, the mechanism of VWF string attachment at the endothelial surface is unknown. We tested the novel hypothesis that VWF strings are tethered to the endothelial surface through an interaction between extracellular vimentin and the A2 domain of VWF. We further explored the translational value of blocking this interaction in a model of ischemic stroke. Methods— Human endothelial cells and pressurized cerebral arteries were stimulated with histamine to elicit VWF string formation. Recombinant proteins and antibodies were used to block VWF string formation. Mice underwent transient middle cerebral artery occlusion with reperfusion. Just before recanalization, mice were given either vehicle or A2 protein (recombinant VWF A2 domain) to disrupt the vimentin/VWF interaction. Laser speckle contrast imaging was used to monitor cortical perfusion. Results— Pressurized cerebral arteries produced VWF strings following histamine stimulation, which were reduced in arteries from Vim KO (vimentin knockout) mice. VWF string formation was significantly reduced in endothelial cells incubated with A2 protein or antivimentin antibodies. Lastly, A2 protein treatment significantly improved cortical reperfusion after middle cerebral artery occlusion. Conclusions— We provide the first direct evidence of cerebral VWF strings and demonstrate that extracellular vimentin significantly contributes to VWF string formation via A2 domain binding. Lastly, we show that pharmacologically targeting the vimentin/VWF interaction through the A2 domain can promote improved reperfusion after ischemic stroke. Together, these studies demonstrate the critical role of VWF strings in stroke pathology and offer new therapeutic targets for treatment of ischemic stroke.
We present a dual-modality imaging system combining laser speckle contrast imaging and oxygen-dependent quenching of phosphorescence to simultaneously map cortical blood flow and oxygen tension (pO2) in mice. Phosphorescence signal localization is achieved through the use of a digital micromirror device (DMD) that allows for selective excitation of arbitrary regions of interest. By targeting both excitation maxima of the oxygen-sensitive Oxyphor PtG4, we are able to examine the effects of excitation wavelength on the measured phosphorescence lifetime. We demonstrate the ability to measure the differences in pO2 between arteries and veins and large changes during a hyperoxic challenge. We dynamically monitor blood flow and pO2 during DMD-targeted photothrombotic occlusion of an arteriole and highlight the presence of an ischemia-induced depolarization. Chronic tracking of the ischemic lesion over eight days revealed a rapid recovery, with the targeted vessel fully reperfusing and pO2 returning to baseline values within five days. This system has broad applications for studying the acute and chronic pathophysiology of ischemic stroke and other vascular diseases of the brain.
Previous findings that skill learning is associated with the formation and preferential stabilization of new dendritic spines in cortex have raised the possibility that this preferential stabilization is a mechanism for lasting skill memory. We investigated this possibility in adult mice using in vivo two-photon imaging to monitor spine dynamics on superficial apical dendrites of layer V pyramidal neurons in motor cortex during manual skill learning. Spine formation increased over the first 3 days of training on a skilled reaching task, followed by increased spine elimination. A greater proportion of spines formed during the first 3 training days were lost if training stopped after 3, compared with 15 days. However, performance gains achieved in 3 training days persisted, indicating that preferential new spine stabilization was non-essential for skill retention. Consistent with a role in ongoing skill refinement, the persistence of spines formed early in training strongly predicted performance improvements. Finally, while we observed no net spine density change on superficial dendrites, the density of spines on deeper apical branches of the same neuronal population was increased regardless of training duration, suggestive of a potential role in the retention of the initial skill memory. Together, these results indicate dendritic subpopulation-dependent variation in spine structural responses to skill learning, which potentially reflect distinct contributions to the refinement and retention of newly acquired motor skills.
Protein glycosylation provides proteomic diversity in regulating protein localization, stability, and activity; it remains largely unknown whether the sugar moiety contributes to immunosuppression. In the study of immune receptor glycosylation, we showed that EGF induces programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and receptor programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) interaction, requiring β-1,3-N-acetylglucosaminyl transferase (B3GNT3) expression in triple-negative breast cancer. Downregulation of B3GNT3 enhances cytotoxic T cell-mediated anti-tumor immunity. A monoclonal antibody targeting glycosylated PD-L1 (gPD-L1) blocks PD-L1/PD-1 interaction and promotes PD-L1 internalization and degradation. In addition to immune reactivation, drug-conjugated gPD-L1 antibody induces a potent cell-killing effect as well as a bystander-killing effect on adjacent cancer cells lacking PD-L1 expression without any detectable toxicity. Our work suggests targeting protein glycosylation as a potential strategy to enhance immune checkpoint therapy.
Despite significant advancements of optical imaging techniques for mapping hemodynamics in small animal models, it remains challenging to combine imaging with spatially resolved electrical recording of individual neurons especially for longitudinal studies. This is largely due to the strong invasiveness to the living brain from the penetrating electrodes and their limited compatibility with longitudinal imaging. We implant arrays of ultraflexible nanoelectronic threads (NETs) in mice for neural recording both at the brain surface and intracortically, which maintain great tissue compatibility chronically. By mounting a cranial window atop of the NET arrays that allows for chronic optical access, we establish a multimodal platform that combines spatially resolved electrical recording of neural activity and laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) of cerebral blood flow (CBF) for longitudinal studies. We induce peri-infarct depolarizations (PIDs) by targeted photothrombosis, and show the ability to detect its occurrence and propagation through spatiotemporal variations in both extracellular potentials and CBF. We also demonstrate chronic tracking of single-unit neural activity and CBF over days after photothrombosis, from which we observe reperfusion and increased firing rates. This multimodal platform enables simultaneous mapping of neural activity and hemodynamic parameters at the microscale for quantitative, longitudinal comparisons with minimal perturbation to the baseline neurophysiology. The ability to spatiotemporally resolve and chronically track CBF and neural electrical activity in the same living brain region has broad applications for studying the interplay between neural and hemodynamic responses in health and in cerebrovascular and neurological pathologies.
We present a review of imaging deep-tissue structures with multiphoton microscopy. We examine the effects of light scattering and absorption due to the optical properties of biological sample and identify 1300 nm and 1700 nm as ideal excitation wavelengths. We summarize the availability of fluorophores for multiphoton microscopy as well as ultrafast laser sources to excite available fluorophores. Lastly, we discuss the applications of multiphoton microscopy for neuroscience.
Two-color multiphoton microscopy through wavelength mixing of synchronized lasers has been shown to increase the spectral window of excitable fluorophores without the need for wavelength tuning. However, most currently available dual output laser sources rely on the costly and complicated optical parametric generation approach. In this report, we detail a relatively simple and low cost diamond Raman laser pumped by a ytterbium fiber amplifier emitting at 1055 nm, which generates a first Stokes emission centered at 1240 nm with a pulse width of 100 fs. The two excitation wavelengths of 1055 and 1240 nm, along with the effective two-color excitation wavelength of 1140 nm, provide an almost complete coverage of fluorophores excitable within the range of 1000–1300 nm. When compared with 1055 nm excitation, two-color excitation at 1140 nm offers a 90% increase in signal for many far-red emitting fluorescent proteins (for example, tdKatushka2). We demonstrate multicolor imaging of tdKatushka2 and Hoechst 33342 via simultaneous two-color two-photon, and two-color three-photon microscopy in engineered 3D multicellular spheroids. We further discuss potential benefits and applications for two-color three-photon excitation. In addition, we show that this laser system is capable of in vivo imaging in mouse cortex to nearly 1 mm in depth with two-color excitation.
Peripheral ischemia as a result of occlusive vascular disease is a widespread problem in patients older than the age of 65. Angiogenic therapies that can induce microvascular growth have great potential for providing a long-lasting solution for patients with ischemia and would provide an appealing alternative to surgical and percutaneous interventions. However, many angiogenic therapies have seen poor efficacy in clinical trials, suggesting that patients with long-term peripheral ischemia have considerable therapeutic resistance to angiogenic stimuli. Glioblastoma is one of the most angiogenic tumor types, inducing robust vessel growth in the area surrounding the tumor. One major angiogenic mechanism used by the tumor cells to induce blood vessel growth is the production of exosomes and other extracellular vesicles that can carry pro-angiogenic and immunomodulatory signals. Here, we explored whether the pro-angiogenic aspects of glioblastoma-derived exosomes could be harnessed to promote angiogenesis and healing in the context of peripheral ischemic disease. We demonstrate that the exosomes derived from glioblastoma markedly enhance endothelial cell proliferation and increase endothelial tubule formation in vitro. An analysis of the microRNA expression using next generation sequencing identified that exosomes contained a high concentration of miR-221. In addition, we found that glioblastoma exosomes contained significant amounts of the proteoglycans glypican-1 and syndecan-4, which can serve as co-receptors for angiogenic factors, including fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2). In a hindlimb ischemia model in mice, we found that the exosomes promoted enhanced revascularization in comparison to control alginate gels and FGF-2 treatment alone. Taken together, our results support the fact that glioblastoma-derived exosomes have powerful effects in increasing revascularization in the context of peripheral ischemia.
By harnessing photoswitchable intersystem crossing (ISC) in spiropyran (SP) molecules, active control of plasmon-enhanced fluorescence in the hybrid systems of SP molecules and plasmonic nanostructures is achieved. Specifically, SP-derived merocyanine (MC) molecules formed by photochemical ring-opening reaction display efficient ISC due to their zwitterionic character. In contrast, ISC in quinoidal MC molecules formed by thermal ring-opening reaction is negligible. The high ISC rate can improve fluorescence quantum yield of the plasmon-modified spontaneous emission, only when the plasmonic electromagnetic field enhancement is sufficiently high. Along this line, extensive photomodulation of fluorescence is demonstrated by switching the ISC in MC molecules at Au nanoparticle aggregates, where strongly enhanced plasmonic hot spots exist. The ISC-mediated plasmon-enhanced fluorescence represents a new approach toward controlling the spontaneous emission of fluorophores near plasmonic nanostructures, which expands the applications of active molecular plasmonics in information processing, biosensing, and bioimaging.
We perform high-resolution, non-invasive, in vivo deep-tissue imaging of the mouse neocortex using multiphoton microscopy with a high repetition rate optical parametric amplifier laser source tunable between λ=1,100 and 1,400 nm. By combining the high repetition rate (511 kHz) and high pulse energy (400 nJ) of our amplifier laser system, we demonstrate imaging of vasculature labeled with Texas Red and Indocyanine Green, and neurons expressing tdTomato and yellow fluorescent protein. We measure the blood flow speed of a single capillary at a depth of 1.2 mm, and image vasculature to a depth of 1.53 mm with fine axial steps (5 μm) and reasonable acquisition times. The high image quality enabled analysis of vascular morphology at depths to 1.45 mm.
Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) feature excellent properties such as high quantum efficiency, tunable emission frequency and good fluorescence stability. Incorporation of QDs into new devices relies upon high-resolution and high-throughput patterning techniques. Herein, we report a new printing technique known as bubble printing (BP), which exploits a light-generated microbubble at the interface of colloidal QD solution and a substrate to directly write QDs into arbitrary patterns. With the uniform plasmonic hot-spot distribution for high bubble stability and the optimum light-scanning parameters, we have achieved full-color QD printing with sub-micron resolution (650nm), high throughput (scanning rate of ~10-2 m/s), and high adhesion of the QDs to the substrates. The printing parameters can be optimized to further modify the fluorescence properties of the patterned QDs such as emission wavelength and lifetime. The patterning of QDs on flexible substrates further demonstrates the wide applicability of this new technique. Thus, BP technique addresses the barrier of achieving a widely applicable, high-throughput and user-friendly patterning technique in the sub-micrometer regime, along with simultaneous fluorescence modification capability.
Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) are attractive for a wide range of applications such as displays, light-emitting devices, and sensors due to tunable fluorescence wavelength, high brightness, and narrow bandwidth. Most of the applications require precise patterning of QDs with targeted properties on solid-state substrates. Herein, we develop a haptic-interfaced bubble printing (HIBP) technique to enable high-resolution (510 nm) high-throughput (>104 µm/s) patterning of QDs with strong emission tunability and to significantly enhance the accessibility of the technique via smartphone device. The scalability and versatility of the HIBP are demonstrated in our arbitrary patterning of QDs on plasmonic substrates. A detailed study of the plasmonic and photothermal interactions is performed via programmed stage movements to realize tunability of the emission wavelength and lifetime. Finally, the dependence of the hand movement over the properties of the printed QDs in terms of emission wavelength from yellow to blue is established. This work provides a single-step macroscale platform to manipulate nanoscale properties at high resolution and throughput.
Implanted brain electrodes construct the only means to electrically interface with individual neurons in vivo, but their recording efficacy and biocompatibility pose limitations on scientific and clinical applications. We showed that nanoelectronic thread (NET) electrodes with subcellular dimensions, ultraflexibility, and cellular surgical footprints form reliable, glial scar–free neural integration. We demonstrated that NET electrodes reliably detected and tracked individual units for months; their impedance, noise level, single-unit recording yield, and the signal amplitude remained stable during long-term implantation. In vivo two-photon imaging and postmortem histological analysis revealed seamless, subcellular integration of NET probes with the local cellular and vasculature networks, featuring fully recovered capillaries with an intact blood-brain barrier and complete absence of chronic neuronal degradation and glial scar.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) has high potential to be a valuable cerebral blood flow monitoring technique during neurosurgery. However, the quantitative accuracy and sensitivity of LSCI is limited, and highly dependent on the exposure time. An extension to LSCI called multi-exposure speckle imaging (MESI) overcomes these limitations, and was evaluated intraoperatively in patients undergoing brain tumor resection. This clinical study (n = 8) recorded multiple exposure times from the same cortical tissue area spanning 0.5–20 ms, and evaluated images individually as single-exposure LSCI and jointly using the MESI model. This study demonstrated that the MESI estimates provided the broadest flow sensitivity for sampling the flow magnitude in the human brain, closely followed by the shorter exposure times. Conservation of flow analysis on vascular bifurcations was used to validate physiological accuracy, with highly conserved flow estimates (<10%) from both MESI and 1 ms LSCI (n = 14 branches). The MESI model had high goodness-of-fit with proper image calibration and acquisition, and was used to monitor blood flow changes after tissue cautery. Results from this study demonstrate that intraoperative MESI can be performed with high quantitative accuracy and sensitivity for cerebral blood flow monitoring.
Whereas important discoveries made by single-particle tracking have changed our view of the plasma membrane organization and motor protein dynamics in the past three decades, experimental studies of intracellular processes using single-particle tracking are rather scarce because of the lack of three-dimensional (3D) tracking capacity. In this study we use a newly developed 3D single-particle tracking method termed TSUNAMI (Tracking of Single particles Using Nonlinear And Multiplexed Illumination) to investigate epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) trafficking dynamics in live cells at 16/43 nm (xy/z) spatial resolution, with track duration ranging from 2 to 10 min and vertical tracking depth up to tens of microns. To analyze the long 3D trajectories generated by the TSUNAMI microscope, we developed a trajectory analysis algorithm, which reaches 81% segment classification accuracy in control experiments (termed simulated movement experiments). When analyzing 95 EGF-stimulated EGFR trajectories acquired in live skin cancer cells, we find that these trajectories can be separated into three groups—immobilization (24.2%), membrane diffusion only (51.6%), and transport from membrane to cytoplasm (24.2%). When EGFRs are membrane-bound, they show an interchange of Brownian diffusion and confined diffusion. When EGFRs are internalized, transitions from confined diffusion to directed diffusion and from directed diffusion back to confined diffusion are clearly seen. This observation agrees well with the model of clathrin-mediated endocytosis.
Chronic wounds represent a major healthcare and economic problem worldwide. Advanced wound dressings that incorporate bioactive compounds have great potential for improving outcomes in patients with chronic wounds but significant challenges in designing treatments that are effective in long-standing, nonhealing wounds. Here, an optimized wound healing gel was developed that delivers syndecan-4 proteoliposomes (“syndesomes”) with fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) to enhance diabetic wound healing. In vitro studies demonstrate that syndesomes markedly increase migration of keratinocytes and fibroblasts isolated from both nondiabetic and diabetic donors. In addition, syndesome treatment leads to increased endocytic processing of FGF-2 that includes enhanced recycling of FGF-2 to the cell surface after uptake. The optimized syndesome formulation was incorporated into an alginate wound dressing and tested in a splinted wound model in diabetic, ob/ob mice. It was found that wounds treated with syndesomes and FGF-2 have markedly enhanced wound closure in comparison to wounds treated with only FGF-2. Moreover, syndesomes have an immunomodulatory effect on wound macrophages, leading to a shift toward the M2 macrophage phenotype and alterations in the wound cytokine profile. Together, these studies show that delivery of exogenous syndecan-4 is an effective method for enhancing wound healing in the long-term diabetic diseased state.
Therapeutic angiogenesis is a highly appealing concept for treating tissues that become ischemic due to vascular disease. A major barrier to the clinical translation of angiogenic therapies is that the patients that are in the greatest need of these treatments often have long term disease states and co-morbidities, such as diabetes and obesity, that make them resistant to angiogenic stimuli. In this study, we identified that human patients with type 2 diabetes have reduced levels of glypican-1 in the blood vessels of their skin. The lack of this key co-receptor in the tissue may make the application of exogenous angiogenic growth factors or cell therapies ineffective. We created a novel therapeutic enhancer for growth factor activity consisting of glypican-1 delivered in a nanoliposomal carrier (a “glypisome”). Here, we demonstrate that glypisomes enhance FGF-2 mediated endothelial cell proliferation, migration and tube formation. In addition, glypisomes enhance FGF-2 trafficking by increasing both uptake and endosomal processing. We encapsulated FGF-2 or FGF-2 with glypisomes in alginate beads and used these to deliver localized growth factor therapy in a murine hind limb ischemia model. Co-delivery of glypisomes with FGF-2 markedly increased the recovery of perfusion and vessel formation in ischemic hind limbs of wild type and diabetic mice in comparison to mice treated with FGF-2 alone. Together, our findings support that glypisomes are effective means for enhancing growth factor activity and may improve the response to local angiogenic growth factor therapies for ischemia.
We report molecular-fluorescence enhancement via the blue-shifted plasmon-induced resonance energy transfer (PIRET) from single Au nanorods (AuNRs) to merocyanine (MC) dye molecules. The blue-shifted PIRET occurs when there is a proper spectral overlap between the scattering of AuNRs and the absorption of MC molecules. Along with the quenching of scattering from AuNRs, the blue-shifted PIRET enhances the fluorescence of nearby molecules. On the basis of the fluorescence enhancement, we conclude that AuNRs can be used as donors with clear advantages to excite the fluorescence of molecules as acceptors in AuNR–molecule hybrids. On the one hand, compared to conventional molecular donors in Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET), AuNRs have much larger absorption cross sections at the plasmon resonance frequencies. On the other hand, energy-transfer efficiency of PIRET decreases at a lower rate than that of FRET when the donor–acceptor distance is increased. Besides, the blue-shifted PIRET allows excitation with incident light of lower energy than the acceptor’s absorption, which is difficult to achieve in FRET because of the Stokes shift. With the capability of enhancing molecular fluorescence with excitation light of low intensity and long wavelength, the blue-shifted PIRET will expand the applications of nanoparticle–molecule hybrids in biosensing and bioimaging by increasing signal-to-noise ratio and by reducing photodamage to biological cells and organelles at the targeted areas.
In the past two decades, significant advances have been made in single-molecule detection which enables the direct observation of single biomolecules at work in real time and under physiological conditions. In particular, the development of single-molecule tracking (SMT) microscopy allows us to monitor the motion paths of individual biomolecules in living systems, unveiling the localization dynamics, and transport modalities of the biomolecules that support the development of life. Beyond the capabilities of traditional camera-based tracking techniques, state-of-the-art SMT microscopies developed in recent years can record fluorescence lifetime while tracking a single molecule in the 3D space. This multiparameter detection capability can open the door to a wide range of investigations at the cellular or tissue level, including identification of molecular interaction hotspots and characterization of association/dissociation kinetics between molecules. In this review, we discuss various SMT techniques developed to date, with an emphasis on our recent development of the next generation 3D tracking system that not only achieves ultrahigh spatiotemporal resolution but also provides sufficient working depth suitable for live animal imaging. We also discuss the challenges that current SMT techniques are facing and the potential strategies to tackle those challenges.
Delivering syndecan-4 with FGF-2 improves the effectiveness of FGF-2 therapy for ischemia in the diabetic disease state. The syndecan-4 proteoliposomes significantly enhance in vitro tubule formation as well as blood perfusion and vessel density in the ischemic hind limbs of diseased ob/ob mice. Syndecan-4 therapy also induces a marked immunomodulation in the tissues, increasing the polarization of macrophages toward the M2 phenotype.
Laser speckle contrast imaging has become a ubiquitous tool for imaging blood flow in a variety of tissues. However, due to its widefield imaging nature, the measured speckle contrast is a depth integrated quantity and interpretation of baseline values and the depth dependent sensitivity of those values to changes in underlying flow has not been thoroughly evaluated. Using dynamic light scattering Monte Carlo simulations, the sensitivity of the autocorrelation function and speckle contrast to flow changes in the cerebral cortex was extensively examined. These simulations demonstrate that the sensitivity of the inverse autocorrelation time, 1/τc, varies across the field of view: directly over surface vessels 1/τc is strongly localized to the single vessel, while parenchymal ROIs have a larger sensitivity to flow changes at depths up to 500 μm into the tissue and up to 200 μm lateral to the ROI. It is also shown that utilizing the commonly used models the relate 1τc to flow resulted in nearly the same sensitivity to the underlying flow, but fail to accurately relate speckle contrast values to absolute 1/τc.
Here we demonstrate that a mode-locked ytterbium fiber laser for two-photon fluorescence microscopy can be built for $13,000. The laser emits at a wavelength of 1060 nm with a usable average power of 1 W at a repetition rate of 40 MHz and a compressed pulse width of 81 fs at the sample. The laser is used to obtain deep in vivo two-color images of layer-V pyramidal neurons expressing YFP and vasculature labelled with Texas Red at depths up to 900 µm. The sub-1 µm features of dendritic spines can be resolved at a 200 µm depth.
Current lithography techniques, which employ photon, electron, or ion beams to induce chemical or physical reactions for micro/nano-fabrication, have remained challenging in patterning chemically synthesized colloidal particles, which are emerging as building blocks for functional devices. Herein, we develop a new technique - bubble-pen lithography (BPL) - to pattern colloidal particles on substrates using optically controlled microbubbles. Briefly, a single laser beam generates a microbubble at the interface of colloidal suspension and a plasmonic substrate via plasmon-enhanced photothermal effects. The microbubble captures and immobilizes the colloidal particles on the substrate through coordinated actions of Marangoni convection, surface tension, gas pressure, and substrate adhesion. Through directing the laser beam to move the microbubble, we create arbitrary single-particle patterns and particle assemblies with different resolutions and architectures. Furthermore, we have applied BPL to pattern CdSe/ZnS quantum dots on plasmonic substrates and polystyrene (PS) microparticles on two-dimensional (2D) atomic-layer materials. With the low-power operation, arbitrary patterning and applicability to general colloidal particles, BPL will find a wide range of applications in microelectronics, nanophotonics, and nanomedicine.
Selective localization of biomolecules at the hot spots of a plasmonic nanoparticle is an attractive strategy to exploit the light–matter interaction due to the high field concentration. Current approaches for hot spot targeting are time-consuming and involve prior knowledge of the hot spots. Multiphoton plasmonic lithography is employed to rapidly immobilize bovine serum albumin (BSA) hydrogel at the hot spot tips of a single gold nanotriangle (AuNT). Regioselectivity and quantity control by manipulating the polarization and intensity of the incident laser are also established. Single AuNTs are tracked using dark-field scattering spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy to characterize the regioselective process. Fluorescence lifetime measurements further confirm BSA immobilization on the AuNTs. Here, the AuNT-BSA hydrogel complexes, in conjunction with single-particle optical monitoring, can act as a framework for understanding light–molecule interactions at the subnanoparticle level and has potential applications in biophotonics, nanomedicine, and life sciences.
Here, we present a method that can improve the z-tracking accuracy of the recently invented TSUNAMI (Tracking of Single particles Using Nonlinear And Multiplexed Illumination) microscope. This method utilizes a maximum likelihood estimator (MLE) to determine the particle's 3D position that maximizes the likelihood of the observed time-correlated photon count distribution. Our Monte Carlo simulations show that the MLE-based tracking scheme can improve the z-tracking accuracy of TSUNAMI microscope by 1.7 fold. In addition, MLE is also found to reduce the temporal correlation of the z-tracking error. Taking advantage of the smaller and less temporally correlated z-tracking error, we have precisely recovered the hybridization-melting kinetics of a DNA model system from thousands of short single-particle trajectories in silico. Our method can be generally applied to other 3D single-particle tracking techniques.
Multi-exposure speckle imaging (MESI) is a camera-based flow-imaging technique for quantitative blood-flow monitoring by mapping the speckle-contrast dependence on camera exposure duration. The ability of laser speckle contrast imaging to measure the temporal dynamics of backscattered and interfering coherent fields, in terms of the accuracy of autocorrelation measurements, is a major unresolved issue in quantitative speckle flowmetry. MESI fits for a number of parameters including an estimate of the electric field autocorrelation decay time from the imaged speckles. We compare the MESI-determined correlation times in vitro and in vivo with accepted true values from direct temporal measurements acquired with a photon-counting photon-multiplier tube and an autocorrelator board. The correlation times estimated by MESI in vivo remain on average within 14±11% of those obtained from direct temporal autocorrelation measurements, demonstrating that MESI yields highly comparable statistics of the time-varying fields that can be useful for applications seeking not only quantitative blood flow dynamics but also absolute perfusion.
Molecular trafficking within cells, tissues and engineered three-dimensional multicellular models is critical to the understanding of the development and treatment of various diseases including cancer. However, current tracking methods are either confined to two dimensions or limited to an interrogation depth of ~15 μm. Here we present a three-dimensional tracking method capable of quantifying rapid molecular transport dynamics in highly scattering environments at depths up to 200 μm. The system has a response time of 1 ms with a temporal resolution down to 50 μs in high signal-to-noise conditions, and a spatial localization precision as good as 35 nm. Built on spatiotemporally multiplexed two-photon excitation, this approach requires only one detector for three-dimensional particle tracking and allows for two-photon, multicolour imaging. Here we demonstrate three-dimensional tracking of epidermal growth factor receptor complexes at a depth of ~100 μm in tumour spheroids.
Few methods exist that can accurately handle dynamic light scattering in the regime between single and highly multiple scattering. We demonstrate dynamic light scattering Monte Carlo (DLS-MC), a numerical method by which the electric field autocorrelation function may be calculated for arbitrary geometries if the optical properties and particle motion are known or assumed. DLS-MC requires no assumptions regarding the number of scattering events, the final form of the autocorrelation function, or the degree of correlation between scattering events. Furthermore, the method is capable of rapidly determining the effect of particle motion changes on the autocorrelation function in heterogeneous samples. We experimentally validated the method and demonstrated that the simulations match both the expected form and the experimental results. We also demonstrate the perturbation capabilities of the method by calculating the autocorrelation function of flow in a representation of mouse microvasculature and determining the sensitivity to flow changes as a function of depth.
Speckle contrast imaging enables rapid mapping of relative blood flow distributions using camera detection of back-scattered laser light. However, speckle derived flow measures deviate from direct measurements of erythrocyte speeds by 47 ± 15% (n = 13 mice) in vessels of various calibers. Alternatively, deviations with estimates of volumetric flux are on average 91 ± 43%. We highlight and attempt to alleviate this discrepancy by accounting for the effects of multiple dynamic scattering with speckle imaging of microfluidic channels of varying sizes and then with red blood cell (RBC) tracking correlated speckle imaging of vascular flows in the cerebral cortex. By revisiting the governing dynamic light scattering models, we test the ability to predict the degree of multiple dynamic scattering across vessels in order to correct for the observed discrepancies between relative RBC speeds and multi-exposure speckle imaging estimates of inverse correlation times. The analysis reveals that traditional speckle contrast imagery of vascular flows is neither a measure of volumetric flux nor particle speed, but rather the product of speed and vessel diameter. The corrected speckle estimates of the relative RBC speeds have an average 10 ± 3% deviation in vivo with those obtained from RBC tracking.
Laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) provides a rapid characterization of cortical flow dynamics for functional monitoring of the microcirculation. The technique stems from interactions of laser light with moving particles. These interactions encode the encountered Doppler phenomena within a random interference pattern imaged in widefield, known as laser speckle. Studies of neurovascular function and coupling with LSCI have benefited from the real-time characterization of functional dynamics in the laboratory setting through quantification of perfusion dynamics. While the technique has largely been relegated to acute small animal imaging, its scalability is being assessed and characterized for both chronic and clinical neurovascular imaging.
Monitoring the progression of the vascular structure and cerebral blood flow (CBF) after brain injury is vital to understand the neurovascular recovery process. Multiexposure speckle imaging (MESI) provides a quantitatively accurate technique for chronically measuring the postocclusion CBF perfusion of the infarct and peri-infarct regions in rodent stroke models, while multiphoton microscopy offers direct visualization of the microvascular structure. In this paper, we present imaging outcomes extending 35 days after photo-thrombotic occlusion, tracking the progression of the vasculature throughout this period. We compare MESI flow estimates within the unresolvable parenchyma with subsurface microvascular volume fractions taken with two-photon microscopy in the same regions to assess how the vascular density influences the surface-integrated MESI flow values. The MESI flow measurements and volume fractions are shown to have high correlations (r=0.90) within areas of recovering vasculature in the peri-infarct region. We also observe vascular reorientation occurring within the microvascular structure throughout the 35-day postocclusion period. With the combination of a chronic mouse model and relatively noninvasive optical imaging techniques, we present an imaging protocol for monitoring long-term vascular progression after photo-thrombotic occlusion with the potential to test the efficacy of rehabilitation and pharmacological therapies.
Although multiple intraoperative cerebral blood flow (CBF) monitoring techniques are currently available, a quantitative method that allows for continuous monitoring and that can be easily integrated into the surgical workflow is still needed. Laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) is an optical imaging technique with a high spatiotemporal resolution that has been recently demonstrated as feasible and effective for intraoperative monitoring of CBF during neurosurgical procedures. This study demonstrates the impact of retrospective motion correction on the quantitative analysis of intraoperatively acquired LSCI images. LSCI images were acquired through a surgical microscope during brain tumor resection procedures from 10 patients under baseline conditions and after a cortical stimulation in three of those patients. The patient’s electrocardiogram (ECG) was recorded during acquisition for postprocess correction of pulsatile artifacts. Automatic image registration was retrospectively performed to correct for tissue motion artifacts, and the performance of rigid and nonrigid transformations was compared. In baseline cases, the original images had 25%±27% noise across 16 regions of interest (ROIs). ECG filtering moderately reduced the noise to 20%±21%, while image registration resulted in a further noise reduction of 15%±4%. Combined ECG filtering and image registration significantly reduced the noise to 6.2%±2.6% (p<0.05). Using the combined motion correction, accuracy and sensitivity to small changes in CBF were improved in cortical stimulation cases. There was also excellent agreement between rigid and nonrigid registration methods (15/16 ROIs with <3% difference). Results from this study demonstrate the importance of motion correction for improved visualization of CBF changes in clinical LSCI images.
Laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) is a powerful and simple method for full field imaging of blood flow. However, the depth dependence and the degree of multiple scattering have not been thoroughly investigated. We employ three-dimensional Monte Carlo simulations of photon propagation combined with high resolution vascular anatomy to investigate these two issues. We found that 95% of the detected signal comes from the top 700 μm of tissue. Additionally, we observed that single-intravascular scattering is an accurate description of photon sampling dynamics, but that regions of interest (ROIs) in areas free of obvious surface vessels had fewer intravascular scattering events than ROI over resolved surface vessels. Furthermore, we observed that the local vascular anatomy can strongly affect the depth dependence of LSCI. We performed simulations over a wide range of intravascular and extravascular scattering properties to confirm the applicability of these results to LSCI imaging over a wide range of visible and near-infrared wavelengths.
We develop an efficient method for accurately calculating the electric field of tightly focused laser beams in the presence of specific configurations of microscopic scatterers. This Huygens–Fresnel wave-based electric field superposition (HF-WEFS) method computes the amplitude and phase of the scattered electric field in excellent agreement with finite difference time-domain (FDTD) solutions of Maxwell’s equations. Our HF-WEFS implementation is 2–4 orders of magnitude faster than the FDTD method and enables systematic investigations of the effects of scatterer size and configuration on the focal field. We demonstrate the power of the new HF-WEFS approach by mapping several metrics of focal field distortion as a function of scatterer position. This analysis shows that the maximum focal field distortion occurs for single scatterers placed below the focal plane with an offset from the optical axis. The HF-WEFS method represents an important first step toward the development of a computational model of laser-scanning microscopy of thick cellular/tissue specimens.
Improved Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging (LSCI) blood flow analyses that incorporate inverse models of the underlying laser-tissue interaction have been used to develop more quantitative implementations of speckle flowmetry such as Multi-Exposure Speckle Imaging (MESI). In this paper, we determine the optimal camera exposure durations required for obtaining flow information with comparable accuracy with the prevailing MESI implementation utilized in recent in vivo rodent studies. A looping leave-one-out (LOO) algorithm was used to identify exposure subsets which were analyzed for accuracy against flows obtained from analysis with the original full exposure set over 9 animals comprising n = 314 regional flow measurements. From the 15 original exposures, 6 exposures were found using the LOO process to provide comparable accuracy, defined as being no more than 10% deviant, with the original flow measurements. The optimal subset of exposures provides a basis set of camera durations for speckle flowmetry studies of the microcirculation and confers a two-fold faster acquisition rate and a 28% reduction in processing time without sacrificing accuracy. Additionally, the optimization process can be used to identify further reductions in the exposure subsets for tailoring imaging over less expansive flow distributions to enable even faster imaging.
Recent experiments have concluded that it is possible to interrupt the vision of human subjects using infrared (IR) light through an effect known as thermal lensing. While these experiments successfully demonstrated the influence of thermal lensing on an Amsler grid target, little has been done to quantify the amount of visual disruption resulting from this phenomenon. Therefore, an artificial eye system was configured to better quantify the refractive power of the thermal lens generated within the human eye. The influence of 1319 nm energy with power levels from 220 to 630 mW and exposure durations between 0.25 and 1.00 s was evaluated based on changes induced within a visible probe beam (542 nm). Results showed up to a -2.0 D blur could be induced in human subjects using these energy levels. Results also established a relationship between the peak IR power and exposure durations used to determine the strength of the thermal lens.
Fluid shear stresses are potent regulators of vascular homeostasis and powerful determinants of vascular disease progression. The glycocalyx is a layer of glycoaminoglycans, proteoglycans and glycoproteins that lines the luminal surface of arteries. The glycocalyx interacts directly with hemodynamic forces from blood flow and, consequently, is a prime candidate for the mechanosensing of fluidic shear stresses. Here, we investigated the role of the glycocalyx component syndecan-1 (sdc-1) in controlling the shear stress-induced signaling and flow-mediated phenotypic modulation in endothelial cells. We found that knockout of sdc-1 abolished several key early signaling events of endothelial cells in response to shear stress including the phosphorylation of Akt, the formation of a spatial gradient in paxillin phosphorylation and the activation of RhoA. After exposure to atheroprotective flow, we found that sdc-1 knockout endothelial cells had a phenotypic shift to an inflammatory/pro-atherosclerotic phenotype in contrast to the atheroprotective phenotype of wild type cells. Consistent with these findings we found increased leukocyte adhesion to sdc-1 knockout endothelial cells in-vitro that was reduced by re-expression of sdc-1. In-vivo, we found increased leukocyte recruitment and vascular permeability/inflammation in sdc-1 knockout mice. Taken together, our studies support a key role for sdc-1 in endothelial mechanosensing and regulation of endothelial phenotype.
Many materials, including biological tissue, attenuate light mostly by scattering. Because the scattered field is exquisitely sensitive to perturbations, control over the distribution of light after strong scattering is challenging. Though wavefront-shaping techniques enable arbitrary generation of light distributions within strongly scattering or turbid media in principle, the input wavefront necessary for the chosen light distribution is generally unknown. Using two different computational models, we demonstrate a technique called virtual aperture culling of the eigenmodes of a resonator (VACER), which uses weak spatial filtering mechanisms for noninvasive light focusing at arbitrary positions within turbid media. Compatibility with weak spatial filtering mechanisms is critical to innocuously focusing light within turbid media. One model represents an ideal system and could be physically implemented in some scenarios with digital optical phase conjugation, while the other model simulates phase conjugation via gain saturation, and its physical realization would operate fast enough to avoid the effects of speckle decorrelation in biological tissue. Modeling results establish that sound physical principles underlie VACER.
The optical properties of neural tissues play critical roles in all types of optical imaging methods. The wavelength-dependent absorption and scattering properties of tissue influence imaging resolution, penetration depth, and often provide sources of contrast. Therefore, quantitative interpretation of imaging data requires knowledge of the optical properties of neural tissues. Light scattering in tissue arises from nanometer-scale spatial variations in refractive index and requires a thorough electromagnetic description of light propagation through this complex medium. Unfortunately, the complexity of neural tissues and the difficulty in measuring refractive index values make such a complete description unrealistic. Therefore, approximations must be made in order to characterize the light scattering properties of neural tissue. This chapter summarizes the various approaches to assess and describe the optical properties of neural tissue and discusses their role for cortical imaging.
Laser speckle contrast imaging has become a widely used tool for dynamic imaging of blood flow, both in animal models and in the clinic. Typically, laser speckle contrast imaging is performed using scientific-grade instrumentation. However, due to recent advances in camera technology, these expensive components may not be necessary to produce accurate images. In this paper, we demonstrate that a consumer-grade webcam can be used to visualize changes in flow, both in a microfluidic flow phantom and in vivo in a mouse model. A two-camera setup was used to simultaneously image with a high performance monochrome CCD camera and the webcam for direct comparison. The webcam was also tested with inexpensive aspheric lenses and a laser pointer for a complete low-cost, compact setup ($90, 5.6 cm length, 25 g). The CCD and webcam showed excellent agreement with the two-camera setup, and the inexpensive setup was used to image dynamic blood flow changes before and after a targeted cerebral occlusion.
Laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) offers a cost-effective means to image blood flow in vivo. However, it is not commonly used to image rodent retinas because of the challenges associated with imaging through the curved cornea and delivering light through the highly scattering lens. A solution to overcome these problems by using LSCI in conjunction with an endoscope to obtain high spatiotemporal blood flow images is described. Its utility is demonstrated by imaging blood flow changes in rat retinas using hyperoxic, hypercapnic, and visual (flicker) stimulations. Hypercapnia increases blood flow, hyperoxia decreases blood flow, and visual stimulation increases blood flow in the retina relative to basal conditions. The time-to-peak of the LSCI response to visual stimulation is also measured. This approach may prove useful to investigate dysregulation in blood flow-evoked responses in retinal diseases and to evaluate treatment strategies in rodents.
Occlusions in single cortical microvessels lead to a reduction in oxygen supply, but this decrement has not been able to be quantified in three dimensions at the level of individual vessels using a single instrument. We demonstrate a combined optical system using two-photon phosphorescence lifetime and fluorescence microscopy (2PLM) to characterize the partial pressure of oxygen (pO2) in single descending cortical arterioles in the mouse brain before and after generating a targeted photothrombotic occlusion. Integrated real-time Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging (LSCI) provides wide-field perfusion maps that are used to monitor and guide the occlusion process while 2PLM maps changes in intravascular oxygen tension. We present the technique’s utility in highlighting the effects of vascular networking on the residual intravascular oxygen tensions measured after occlusion in three dimensions.
Chronic imaging of cerebral blood flow (CBF) is an important tool for investigating vascular remodeling after injury such as stroke. Although techniques such as Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging (LSCI) have emerged as valuable tools for imaging CBF in acute experiments, their utility for chronic measurements or cross-animal comparisons has been limited. Recently, an extension to LSCI called Multi-Exposure Speckle Imaging (MESI) was introduced that increases the quantitative accuracy of CBF images. In this paper, we show that estimates of chronic blood flow are better with MESI than with traditional LSCI. We evaluate the accuracy of the MESI flow estimates using red blood cell (RBC) photographic tracking as an absolute flow calibration in mice over several days. The flow measures computed using the MESI and LSCI techniques were found to be on average 10% and 24% deviant (n=9 mice), respectively, compared with RBC velocity changes. We also map CBF dynamics after photo-thrombosis of selected cortical microvasculature. Correlations of flow dynamics with RBC tracking were closer with MESI (r=0.88) than with LSCI (r=0.65) up to 2 weeks from baseline. With the increased quantitative accuracy, MESI can provide a platform for studying the efficacy of stroke therapies aimed at flow restoration.
A swept-source dual-wavelength photothermal (DWP) optical coherence tomography (OCT) system is demonstrated for quantitative imaging of microvasculature oxygen saturation. DWP-OCT is capable of recording three-dimensional images of tissue and depth-resolved phase variation in response to photothermal excitation. A 1,064-nm OCT probe and 770-nm and 800-nm photothermal excitation beams are combined in a single-mode optical fiber to measure microvasculature hemoglobin oxygen saturation (SO2) levels in phantom blood vessels with a range of blood flow speeds (0 to 17 mm∕s). A 50-μm-diameter blood vessel phantom is imaged, and SO2 levels are measured using DWP-OCT and compared with values provided by a commercial oximeter at various blood oxygen concentrations. The influences of blood flow speed and mechanisms of SNR phase degradation on the accuracy of SO2 measurement are identified and investigated.
BACKGROUND: Assessment of the vasculature is critical for overall success in cranial vascular neurological surgery procedures. Although several methods of monitoring cortical perfusion intraoperatively are available, not all are appropriate or convenient in a surgical environment. Recently, 2 optical methods of care have emerged that are able to obtain high spatial resolution images with easily implemented instrumentation: indocyanine green (ICG) angiography and laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI). OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the usefulness of ICG and LSCI in measuring vessel perfusion. METHODS: An experimental setup was developed that simultaneously collects measurements of ICG fluorescence and LSCI in a rodent model. A 785-nm laser diode was used for both excitation of the ICG dye and the LSCI illumination. A photothrombotic clot model was used to occlude specific vessels within the field of view to enable comparison of the 2 methods for monitoring vessel perfusion. RESULTS: The induced blood flow change demonstrated that ICG is an excellent method for visualizing the volume and type of vessel at a single point in time; however, it is not always an accurate representation of blood flow. In contrast, LSCI provides a continuous and accurate measurement of blood flow changes without the need of an external contrast agent. CONCLUSION: These 2 methods should be used together to obtain a complete understanding of tissue perfusion.
At select wavelengths, near infrared (IR) light is absorbed in the preretinal media of the eye. This produces small transient increases in temperature that temporarily alter the local index of refraction. If the IR exposure is sufficiently high, a momentary reduction in the focusing power of the eye can be induced through an effect known as thermal lensing. Fundamental optical interaction and safety aspects of this phenomenon have been demonstrated previously in animal and artificial eye models. However, whether the effect will induce an observable visual change in human subjects has not been explored. Here, results of a pilot study are shown where eight human subjects were exposed to an IR laser at levels that were below the safe exposure limit. The exposures did induce a transient visual distortion if sufficiently high levels were used. While the description of the visual change varied between subjects, this experiment was able to determine a general guideline for power needed to induce significant effects in human subjects.
BACKGROUND: Nanoparticles have recently gained interest as exogenous contrast agents in a variety of biomedical applications related to cancer detection and treatment. The objective of this study was to determine the potential of topically administered antibody conjugated gold nanorods (GNRs) for imaging squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of the skin using near-infrared narrowband imaging (NBI). Near-infrared (NIR) NBI images narrow wavelength bands to enhance contrast from plasmonic particles in a wide field portable and noncontact device that is clinically compatible for real-time tumor imaging and tumor margin demarcation. STUDY DESIGN: We conjugated GNRs to Cetuximab, a clinically approved humanized antibody that targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is overexpressed on the surface of many tumor cells, especially SCCs. We excised subcutaneous xenografts of SCCs (A431) from Swiss nu/nu mice and divided the tumors into two groups: (1) the targeted group (Cetuximab conjugated GNRs) and (2) the control group (polyethylene glycol-conjugated GNRs). After topical application of particles and incubation for 30 minutes, the tumors were washed and imaged using NBI. In addition, we performed two-photon imaging to quantify the binding of EGFR targeted GNRs in tumors and their depth profile. RESULTS: The NBI images showed a visual increase in contrast from tumors after topical administration of targeted GNR. Targeted GNR tumors showed increased contrast compared to tumors administered with the control GNR. There was a statistically significant increase in mean pixel intensity (∼2.5x) from targeted GNR tumors (n = 6). Two-photon microscopy images of targeted GNRs confirmed their binding affinity to the EGF receptors over expressed in the A431 tumors. CONCLUSION: We have demonstrated that a topical application of gold nanorods targeted specifically to tumor growth factor receptors results in a significantly higher image contrast compared to nontargeted gold nanorods. These results demonstrate the feasibility of near-infrared NBI to image and demarcate tumor margins during surgical resection using topical administration of targeted GNR.
Laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) has emerged over the past decade as a powerful, yet simple, method for imaging of blood flow dynamics in real time. The rapid adoption of LSCI for physiological studies is due to the relative ease and low cost of building an instrument as well as the ability to quantify blood flow changes with excellent spatial and temporal resolution. Although measurements are limited to superficial tissues with no depth resolution, LSCI has been instrumental in pre-clinical studies of neurological disorders as well as clinical applications including dermatological, neurosurgical and endoscopic studies. Recently a number of technical advances have been developed to improve the quantitative accuracy and temporal resolution of speckle imaging. This article reviews some of these recent advances and describes several applications of speckle imaging.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The macrophage is an important early cellular marker related to risk of future rupture of atherosclerotic plaques. Two-channel two-photon luminescence (TPL) microscopy combined with optical coherence tomography (OCT) was used to detect, and further characterize the distribution of aorta-based macrophages using plasmonic gold nanorose as an imaging contrast agent. STUDY DESIGN AND MATERIALS AND METHODS: Nanorose uptake by macrophages was identified by TPL microscopy in macrophage cell culture. Ex vivo aorta segments (8 x 8 x 2 mm^3) rich in macrophages from a rabbit model of aorta inflammation were imaged by TPL microscopy in combination with OCT. Aorta histological sections (5 µm in thickness) were also imaged by TPL microscopy. RESULTS: Merged two-channel TPL images showed the lateral and depth distribution of nanorose-loaded macrophages (confirmed by RAM-11 stain) and other aorta components (e.g., elastin fiber and lipid droplet), suggesting that nanorose-loaded macrophages are diffusively distributed and mostly detected superficially within 20 µm from the luminal surface of the aorta. Moreover, OCT images depicted detailed surface structure of the diseased aorta. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that TPL microscopy combined with OCT can simultaneously reveal macrophage distribution with respect to aorta surface structure, which has the potential to detect vulnerable plaques and monitor plaque-based macrophages overtime during cardiovascular interventions.
In vivo surface imaging of fluorescently labeled vasculature has become a widely used tool for functional brain imaging studies. Techniques such as phosphorescence quenching for oxygen tension measurements and indocyanine green fluorescence for vessel perfusion monitoring rely on surface measurements of vascular fluorescence. However, the depth dependence of the measured fluorescence signals has not been modeled in great detail. In this paper, we investigate the depth dependence of the measured signals using a three-dimensional Monte Carlo model combined with high resolution vascular anatomy. We found that a bulk-vascularization assumption to modeling the depth dependence of the signal does not provide an accurate picture of penetration depth of the collected fluorescence signal in most cases. Instead the physical distribution of microvasculature, the degree of absorption difference between extravascular and intravascular space, and the overall difference in absorption at the excitation and emission wavelengths must be taken into account to determine the depth penetration of the fluorescence signal. Additionally, we found that using targeted illumination can provide for superior surface vessel sensitivity over wide-field illumination, with small area detection offering an even greater amount of sensitivity to surface vasculature. Depth sensitivity can be enhanced by either increasing the detector area or increasing the illumination area. Finally, we see that excitation wavelength and vessel size can affect intra-vessel sampling distribution, as well as the amount of signal that originates from inside the vessel under targeted illumination conditions.
Microvasculature hemoglobin oxygen saturation (SaO2) is important in the progression of various pathologies. Non-invasive depth-resolved measurement of SaO2 levels in tissue microvasculature has the potential to provide early biomarkers and a better understanding of the pathophysiological processes allowing improved diagnostics and prediction of disease progression. We report proof-of-concept in vivo depth-resolved measurement of SaO2 levels in selected 30 µm diameter arterioles in the murine brain using Dual-Wavelength Photothermal (DWP) Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) with 800 nm and 770 nm photothermal excitation wavelengths. Depth location of back-reflected light from a target arteriole was confirmed using Doppler and speckle contrast OCT images. SaO2 measured in a murine arteriole with DWP-OCT is linearly correlated (R2=0.98) with systemic SaO2 values recorded by a pulse-oximeter. DWP-OCT are steadily lower (10.1%) than systemic SaO2 values except during pure oxygen breathing. DWP-OCT is insensitive to OCT intensity variations and is a candidate approach for in vivo depth-resolved quantitative imaging of microvascular SaO2 levels.
Proper interpretation of BOLD fMRI and other common functional imaging methods requires an understanding of neurovascular coupling. We used laser speckle-contrast optical imaging to measure blood-flow responses in rat somatosensory cortex elicited by brief (2 s) forepaw stimulation. Results show a large increase in local blood flow speed followed by an undershoot and possible late-time oscillations. The blood flow measurements were modeled using the impulse response of a simple linear network, a four-element windkessel. This model yielded excellent fits to the detailed time courses of activated regions. The four-element windkessel model thus provides a simple explanation and interpretation of the transient blood-flow response, both its initial peak and its late-time behavior.
The editors introduce the Biomedical Optics Express feature issue, “In Vivo Microcirculation Imaging,” which includes 14 contributions from the biomedical optics community, covering such imaging techniques as optical coherence tomography, photoacoustic microscopy, laser Doppler/speckle imaging, and near infrared spectroscopy and fluorescence imaging.
Intravital or multiphoton microscopy and laser-speckle imaging have become popular because they allow live monitoring of several processes during cerebral ischemia. Available rodent models have limitations for these experiments; e.g., filament occlusion of the proximal middle cerebral artery (MCA) is difficult to perform under a microscope, whereas distal occlusion methods may damage the MCA and the peri-arterial cortex. We found that placement of a 10% FeCl3-soaked filter paper strip (0.3 × 1 mm2) on the duramater over the trunk of the distal MCA through a cranial window for 3 minutes induced intraarterial thrombus without damaging the peri-arterial cortex in the mouse. This caused a rapid regional cerebral blood flow decrease within 10 minutes and total occlusion of the MCA segment under the filter paper in 17±2 minutes, which resulted in a typical cortical infarct of 27±4 mm3 at 24 hours and moderate sensorimotor deficits. There was no significant hemispheric swelling or hemorrhage or mortality at 24 hours. Reperfusion was obtained in half of the mice with tissue plasminogen activator, which allowed live monitoring of clot lysis along with restoration of tissue perfusion and MCA flow. In conclusion, this relatively simple and noninvasive stroke model is easy to perform under a microscope, making it suitable for live imaging and thrombolysis studies.
Non-invasive depth-resolved measurement of hemoglobin oxygen saturation (SaO2) levels in discrete blood vessels may have implications for diagnosis and treatment of various pathologies. We introduce a novel Dual-Wavelength Photothermal (DWP) Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for non-invasive depth-resolved measurement of SaO2 levels in a blood vessel phantom. DWP OCT SaO2 is linearly correlated with blood-gas SaO2 measurements. We demonstrate 6.3% precision in SaO2 levels measured a phantom blood vessel using DWP-OCT with 800 and 765 nm excitation wavelengths. Sources of uncertainty in SaO2 levels measured with DWP-OCT are identified and characterized.
Monitoring cerebral blood flow (CBF) during neurosurgery can provide important physiological information for a variety of surgical procedures. CBF measurements are important for assessing whether blood flow has returned to presurgical baseline levels and for assessing postsurgical tissue viability. Existing techniques for intraoperative monitoring of CBF based on magnetic resonance imaging are expensive and often impractical, while techniques such as indocyanine green angiography cannot produce quantitative measures of blood flow. Laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) is an optical technique that has been widely used to quantitatively image relative CBF in animal models in vivo. In a pilot clinical study, we adapted an existing neurosurgical operating microscope to obtain LSCI images in humans in real time during neurosurgery under baseline conditions and after bipolar cautery. Simultaneously recorded ECG waveforms from the patient were used to develop a filter that helped reduce measurement variabilities due to motion artifacts. Results from this study demonstrate the feasibility of using LSCI to obtain blood flow images during neurosurgeries and its capability to produce full field CBF image maps with excellent spatial resolution in real-time with minimal disruption to the surgical procedure.
Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging (LSCI) is a simple yet powerful technique that is used for full-field imaging of blood flow. The technique analyzes fluctuations in a dynamic speckle pattern to detect the movement of particles similar to how laser Doppler analyzes frequency shifts to determine particle speed. Because it can be used to monitor the movement of red blood cells, LSCI has become a popular tool for measuring blood flow in tissues such as the retina, skin, and brain. It has become especially useful in neuroscience where blood flow changes during physiological events like functional activation, stroke, and spreading depolarization can be quantified. LSCI is also attractive because it provides excellent spatial and temporal resolution while using inexpensive instrumentation that can easily be combined with other imaging modalities. Here we show how to build a LSCI setup and demonstrate its ability to monitor blood flow changes in the brain during an animal experiment.
A linear coherent superposition method for estimating the plane wave far-field scattering pattern from multiple biological cells computed by the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method is presented. The method enables the FDTD simulation results of scattering from a small number of complex scatterers, such as biological cells, to be used to estimate the far-field pattern from a large group of those same scatterers. The superposition method can be used to reduce the computational cost of FDTD simulations by enabling a single large scattering problem to be broken into smaller problems with more practical computational requirements. It is found that the method works best in cases where there is little multiple scattering interaction between adjacent cells, so the far-field pattern of multicell geometry can simply be calculated as a phase-adjusted linear superposition of the scattering from individual cells. A strategy is also presented for choosing the minimum number of cells in cases with significant multiple scattering interactions between cells.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Gold nanoparticles (GNPs) such as gold nanoshells (GNSs) and gold nanorods (GNRs) have been explored in a number of in vitro and in vivo studies as imaging contrast and cancer therapy agents due to their highly desirable spectral and molecular properties. While the organ-level biodistribution of these particles has been reported previously, little is known about the cellular level or intra-organ biodistribution. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the use of intrinsic two-photon-induced photoluminescence (TPIP) to study the cellular level biodistribution of GNPs. STUDY DESIGN/MATERIALS AND METHODS: Tumor xenografts were created in 27 male nude mice (Swiss nu/nu) using HCT 116 cells (CCL-247; American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), Manassas, VA, human colorectal cancer cell line). GNSs and GNRs were systemically injected 24 hours prior to tumor harvesting. A skin flap with the tumor was excised and sectioned as 8 µm thick tissues for imaging GNPs under a custom-built multiphoton microscope. For multiplexed imaging, nuclei, cytoplasm, and blood vessels were demonstrated by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining, YOYO-1 iodide staining, and CD31-immunofluorescence staining. RESULTS: Distribution features of GNPs at the tumor site were determined from TPIP images. GNSs and GNRs had a heterogeneous distribution with higher accumulation at the tumor cortex than tumor core. GNPs were also observed in unique patterns surrounding the perivascular region. While most GNSs were confined at the distance of approximately 400 µm inside the tumor edge, GNRs were shown up to 1.5 mm penetration inside the edge. CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated the use of TPIP imaging in a multiplexed fashion to image both GNPs and nuclei, cytoplasm, or vasculature simultaneously. We also confirmed that TPIP imaging enabled visualization of GNP distribution patterns within the tumor and other critical organs. These results suggest that direct luminescence-based imaging of metal nanoparticles holds a valuable and promising position in understanding the accumulation kinetics of GNPs. In addition, these techniques will be increasingly important as the use of these particles progress to human clinical trials where standard histopathology techniques are used to analyze their effects.
Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging (LSCI) has become a widely used technique to image cerebral blood flow in vivo. However, the quantitative accuracy of blood flow changes measured through the thin skull has not been investigated thoroughly. We recently developed a new Multi Exposure Speckle Imaging (MESI) technique to image blood flow while accounting for the effect of scattering from static tissue elements. In this paper we present the first in vivo demonstration of the MESI technique. The MESI technique was used to image the blood flow changes in a mouse cortex following photothrombotic occlusion of the middle cerebral artery. The Multi Exposure Speckle Imaging technique was found to accurately estimate flow changes due to ischemia in mice brains in vivo. These estimates of these flow changes were found to be unaffected by scattering from thinned skull.
How does infarction in victims of stroke and other types of acute brain injury expand to its definitive size in subsequent days? Spontaneous depolarizations that repeatedly spread across the cerebral cortex, sometimes at remarkably regular intervals, occur in patients with all types of injury. Here, we show experimentally with in vivo real-time imaging that similar, spontaneous depolarizations cycle repeatedly around ischaemic lesions in the cerebral cortex, and enlarge the lesion in step with each cycle. This behaviour results in regular periodicity of depolarization when monitored at a single point in the lesion periphery. We present evidence from clinical monitoring to suggest that depolarizations may cycle in the ischaemic human brain, perhaps explaining progressive growth of infarction. Despite their apparent detrimental role in infarct growth, we argue that cycling of depolarizations around lesions might also initiate upregulation of the neurobiological responses involved in repair and remodelling.
We demonstrate a method to improve the measurement sensitivity of two-photon frequency-domain lifetime measurements in poor signal to background conditions. This technique uses sinusoidal modulation of the two-photon excitation source and detection of the second harmonic of the modulation frequency that appears in the emission. Additionally, we present the mathematical model which describes how the observed phase shift and amplitude demodulation factor of two-photon phosphorescence emission are related to the phosphorescence lifetime and modulation frequency. We demonstrate the validity of the model by showing the existence of new frequency terms in the phosphorescence emission generated from the quadratic nature of two-photon absorption and by showing that the phase shift and demodulation match theory for all frequency components.
In this study we present a novel imaging method that combines high resolution cerebral blood flow imaging with a highly flexible map of absolute pO2. In vivo measurements of pO2 in animals using phosphorescence quenching is a well established method, and is preferable over electrical probes which are inherently invasive and are limited to single point measurements. However, spatially resolved pO2 measurements using phosphorescence lifetime quenching typically require expensive cameras to obtain images of pO2 and often suffer from poor signal to noise. Our approach enables us to retain the high temporal resolution and sensitivity of single point detection of phosphorescence by using a digital micromirror device (DMD) to selectively illuminate arbitrarily shaped regions of tissue. In addition, by simultaneously using Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging (LSCI) to measure relative blood flow, we can better examine the relationship between blood flow and absolute pO2. We successfully used this instrument to study changes that occur during ischemic conditions in the brain with enough spatial resolution to clearly distinguish different regions. This novel instrument will provide researchers with an inexpensive and improved technique to examine multiple hemodynamic parameters simultaneously in the brain as well as other tissues.
First introduced in the 1980s, laser speckle contrast imaging is a powerful tool for full-field imaging of blood flow. Recently laser speckle contrast imaging has gained increased attention, in part due to its rapid adoption for blood flow studies in the brain. We review the underlying physics of speckle contrast imaging and discuss recent developments to improve the quantitative accuracy of blood flow measures. We also review applications of laser speckle contrast imaging in neuroscience, dermatology and ophthalmology.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The objective of this article is to quantify the effect of hyper-osmotic agent (glycerol) on blood velocity in hamster skin blood vessels measured with a dynamic imaging technique, laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI). STUDY DESIGN/MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study a dorsal skin-flap window was implanted on the hamster skin. The hyper-osmotic drug, that is, glycerol was delivered to the skin through the open dermal end of the window model. A two-dimensional map of blood flow of skin blood vessels was obtained from the speckle contrast (SC) images. RESULTS: Preliminary studies demonstrated that hyper-osmotic agents such as glycerol not only make tissue temporarily transparent, but also reduce blood flow. The blood perfusion was measured every 3 minutes for 36–66 minutes after diffusion of anhydrous glycerol. Blood flow in small capillaries was found to be reduced significantly within 3–9 minutes. Blood flow in larger blood vessels (i.e., all arteries and veins) decreased over time and some veins had significantly reduced blood flow within 36 minutes. At 24 hours, there was a further reduction in capillary blood perfusion whereas larger blood vessels regained flow compared to an hour after initial application of glycerol. CONCLUSION: Blood flow velocity and vessel diameter of the micro-vasculatures of hamster skin were reduced by the application of 100% anhydrous glycerol. At 24 hours, capillary perfusion remained depressed.
The relationship between measurements of cerebral blood oxygenation and neuronal activity is highly complex and depends on both neurovascular and neurometabolic biological coupling. While measurements of blood oxygenation changes via optical and MRI techniques have been developed to map functional brain activity, there is evidence that the specific characteristics of these signals are sensitive to the underlying vascular physiology and structure of the brain. Since baseline blood flow and oxygen saturation may vary between sessions and across subjects, functional blood oxygenation changes may be a less reliable indicator of brain activity in comparison to blood flow and metabolic changes. In this work, we use a biomechanical model to examine the relationships between neural, vascular, metabolic, and hemodynamic responses to parametric whisker stimulation under both normal and hypercapnic conditions in a rat model. We find that the relationship between neural activity and oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin changes is sensitive to hypercapnia-induced changes in baseline cerebral blood flow. In contrast, the underlying relationships between evoked neural activity, blood flow, and model-estimated oxygen metabolism changes are unchanged by the hypercapnic challenge. We conclude that evoked changes in blood flow and cerebral oxygen metabolism are more closely associated with underlying evoked neuronal responses.
The FDTD method was used to simulate focused Gaussian beam propagation through multiple inhomogeneous biological cells. To our knowledge this is the first three dimensional computational investigation of a focused beam interacting with multiple biological cells using FDTD. A parametric study was performed whereby three simulated cells were varied by organelle density, nuclear type and arrangement of internal cellular structure and the beam focus depth was varied within the cluster of cells. Of the organelle types investigated, it appears that the cell nuclei are responsible for the greatest scattering of the focused beam in the configurations studied. Additional simulations to determine the optical scattering from 27 cells were also run and compared to the three cell case. No significant degradation of two-photon lateral imaging resolution was predicted to occur within the first 40 µm of imaging depth.
The present study addresses the relationship between blood flow and glucose consumption in rat primary somatosensory cortex (SI) in vivo. We examined bilateral neuronal and hemodynamic changes and 2-deoxyglucose (2DG) uptake, as measured by autoradiography, in response to unilateral forepaw stimulation. In contrast to the contralateral forepaw area, where neuronal activity, blood oxygenation/flow and 2DG uptake increased in unison, we observed, in the ipsilateral SI, a blood oxygenation/flow decrease and arteriolar vasoconstriction in the presence of increased 2DG uptake. Laminar electrophysiological recordings revealed an increase in ipsilateral spiking consistent with the observed increase in 2DG uptake. The vasoconstriction and the decrease in blood flow in the presence of an increase in 2DG uptake in the ipsilateral SI contradict the prominent metabolic hypothesis regarding the regulation of cerebral blood flow, which postulates that the state of neuroglial energy consumption determines the regional blood flow through the production of vasoactive metabolites. We propose that other factors, such as neuronal (and glial) release of messenger molecules, might play a dominant role in the regulation of blood flow in vivo in response to a physiological stimulus.
Though laser speckle contrast imaging enables the measurement of scattering particle dynamics with high temporal resolution, the subsequent processing has previously been much slower. In prior studies, generating a laser speckle contrast image required about 1 s to process a raw image potentially collected in 10 ms or less. In this paper, novel algorithms are described which are demonstrated to convert 291 raw images per second to laser speckle contrast images and as many as 410 laser speckle contrast images per second to relative correlation time images. As long as image processing occurs during image acquisition, these algorithms render processing time irrelevant in most circumstances and enable real-time imaging of blood flow dynamics.
We describe the application of a time domain diffuse fluorescence tomography system for whole body small animal imaging. The key features of the system are the use of point excitation in free space using ultrashort laser pulses and noncontact detection using a gated, intensified charge-coupled device (CCD) camera. Mouse shaped epoxy phantoms, with embedded fluorescent inclusions, were used to verify the performance of a recently developed asymptotic lifetime-based tomography algorithm. The asymptotic algorithm is based on a multiexponential analysis of the decay portion of the data. The multiexponential model is shown to enable the use of a global analysis approach for a robust recovery of the lifetime components present within the imaging medium. The surface boundaries of the imaging volume were acquired using a photogrammetric camera integrated with the imaging system, and implemented in a Monte-Carlo model of photon propagation in tissue. The tomography results show that the asymptotic approach is able to separate axially located fluorescent inclusions centered at depths of 4 and 10 mm from the surface of the mouse phantom. The fluorescent inclusions had distinct lifetimes of 0.5 and 0.95 ns. The inclusions were nearly overlapping along the measurement axis and shown to be not resolvable using continuous wave (CW) methods. These results suggest the practical feasibility and advantages of a time domain approach for whole body small animal fluorescence molecular imaging, particularly with the use of lifetime as a contrast mechanism.
Real-time investigation of cerebral blood flow (CBF), and oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin concentration (HbO, HbR) dynamics has been difficult until recently due to limited spatial and temporal resolution of techniques like laser Doppler flowmetry and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The combination of laser speckle flowmetry (LSF) and multispectral reflectance imaging (MSRI) yields high-resolution spatiotemporal maps of hemodynamic and metabolic changes in response to functional cortical activation. During acute focal cerebral ischemia, changes in HbO and HbR are much larger than in functional activation, resulting in the failure of the Beer-Lambert approximation to yield accurate results. We describe the use of simultaneous LSF and MSRI, using a nonlinear Monte Carlo fitting technique, to record rapid changes in CBF, HbO, HbR, and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2) during acute focal cerebral ischemia induced by distal middle cerebral artery occlusion (dMCAO) and reperfusion. This technique captures CBF and CMRO2 changes during hemodynamic and metabolic events with high temporal and spatial resolution through the intact skull and demonstrates the utility of simultaneous LSF and MSRI in mouse models of cere-brovascular disease.
An instrument is demonstrated that is capable of three-dimensional (3D) vasculature imaging and pO2 quantification with high spatial resolution. The instrument combines two-photon (2P) microscopy with phosphorescence quenching to measure pO2. The instrument was demonstrated by performing depth-resolved microvascular pO2 measurements of rat cortical vessels down to 120μm below the surface. 2P excitation of porphyrin was confirmed, and measured pO2 values were consistent with previously published data for normoxic and hyperoxic conditions. The ability to perform 3D pO2 measurements using optical techniques will allow researchers to overcome existing limitations imposed by polarographic electrodes, magnetic resonance techniques, and surface-only pO2 measurement techniques.
Gold nanoshells (dielectric silica core/gold shell) are a novel class of hybrid metal nanoparticles whose unique optical properties have spawned new applications including more sensitive molecular assays and cancer therapy. We report a new photo-physical property of nanoshells (NS) whereby these particles glow brightly when excited by near-infrared light. We characterized the luminescence brightness of NS, comparing to that of gold nanorods (NR) and fluorescent beads (FB). We find that NS are as bright as NR and 140 times brighter than FB. To demonstrate the potential application of this bright two-photon-induced photoluminescence (TPIP) signal for biological imaging, we imaged the 3D distribution of gold nanoshells targeted to murine tumors.
Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging (LSCI) is a minimally invasive full field optical technique used to generate blood flow maps with high spatial and temporal resolution. The lack of quantitative accuracy and the inability to predict flows in the presence of static scatterers such as an intact or thinned skull have been the primary limitation of LSCI. We present a new Multi-Exposure Speckle Imaging (MESI) instrument that has potential to obtain quantitative baseline flow measures. We show that the MESI instrument extends the range over which relative flow measurements are linear. We also present a new speckle model which can discriminate flows in the presence of static scatters. We show that in the presence of static scatterers the new model used along with the new MESI instrument can predict correlation times of flow consistently to within 10% of the value without static scatterers compared to an average deviation of more than 100% from the value without static scatterers using traditional LSCI. We also show that the new speckle model used with the MESI instrument can maintain the linearity of relative flow measurements in the presence of static scatterers.
Normobaric hyperoxia is under investigation as a treatment for acute ischaemic stroke. In experimental models, normobaric hyperoxia reduces cerebral ischaemic injury and improves functional outcome. The mechanisms of neuroprotection are still debated because, (i) inhalation of 100% O2 does not significantly increase total blood O2 content; (ii) it is not known whether normobaric hyperoxia increases O2 delivery to the severely ischaemic cortex because of its short diffusion distance; and (iii) hyperoxia may reduce collateral cerebral blood flow (CBF) to ischaemic penumbra because it can cause vasoconstriction. We addressed these issues using real-time two-dimensional multispectral reflectance imaging and laser speckle flowmetry to simultaneously and non-invasively determine the impact of normobaric hyperoxia on CBF and oxygenation in ischaemic cortex. Ischaemia was induced by distal middle cerebral artery occlusion (dMCAO) in normoxic (30% inhaled O2, arterial pO2 134 ± 9 mmHg), or hyperoxic mice (100% inhaled O2 starting 15 min after dMCAO, arterial pO2 312 ± 10 mmHg). Post-ischaemic normobaric hyperoxia caused an immediate and progressive increase in oxyhaemoglobin (oxyHb) concentration, nearly doubling it in ischaemic core within 60 min. In addition, hyperoxia improved CBF so that the area of cortex with ≤20% residual CBF was decreased by 45% 60 min after dMCAO. Furthermore, hyperoxia reduced the frequency of peri-infarct depolarizations (PIDs) by more than 60%, and diminished their deleterious effects on CBF and metabolic load. Consistent with these findings, infarct size was reduced by 45% in the hyperoxia group 2 days after 75 min transient dMCAO. Our data show that normobaric hyperoxia increases tissue O2 delivery, and that novel mechanisms such as CBF augmentation, and suppression of PIDs may afford neuroprotection during hyperoxia.
We report the assessment of cerebral blood flow (CBF) changes with a wide-field laser Doppler imager based on a CCD camera detection scheme, in vivo, in mice. The setup enables the acquisition of data in minimally invasive conditions. In contrast with conventional laser Doppler velocimeters and imagers, the Doppler signature of moving scatterers is measured in the frequency domain, by detuning a heterodyne optical detection. The quadratic mean of the measured frequency shift is used as an indicator of CBF. We observe a significant variability of this indicator in an experiment designed to induce blood flow changes.
In the light of accumulating evidence for the occurrence of spontaneous cortical spreading depression and peri-infarct depolarizations in the human brain injured by trauma or aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage, we used DC electrode recording and laser speckle imaging to study the relationship between depolarization events and perfusion in the ischaemic, gyrencephalic brain. In 14 adult male cats anaesthetized with chloralose, one cerebral hemisphere was exposed and the middle cerebral artery occluded. Surface cortical perfusion in core and penumbral territories was imaged semiquantitatively at intervals of 13 s for 4 h. Cortical surface DC potential was recorded. Time interval between changes in DC potential and in perfusion was examined, and this comparison was repeated using microelectrodes for DC potential in five similar experiments in a second laboratory. Mean pre-occlusion perfusion was 11707 ± 4581 units (equivalent to CBF (cerebral blood flow) ∼40.5 ± SD 14.4 ml/100 g/min), and fell on occlusion to 5318 ± 2916 (CBF ∼17.1 ± 8.3), 5291 ± 3407 (CBF ∼17.0 ± 10.1), and 6711 ± 3271 (CBF ∼22.2 ± 9.6), quickly recovering to 8704 ± 4581 (CBF ∼29.5 ± 14.4), 9741 ± 4499 (CBF ∼33.3 ± 14.1) and 10 314 ± 3762 (CBF ∼35.4 ± 11.4) on the core, intermediate and outer penumbral gyri, respectively. Mean perfusion later fell secondarily on core and intermediate gyri but, overall, was preserved on the outer (upper level of perfusion) gyrus during the period of observation. Pattern and severity of transient changes in perfusion associated with depolarization events varied with gyral location; falls in perfusion were sometimes profound and irreversible, and followed rather than preceded depolarization. In this model of occlusive stroke, reductions in perfusion linked to peri-infarct depolarization events contribute to secondary deterioration in penumbral areas. The findings suggest that such events play a central rather than a subsidiary role in cerebral infarction in the gyrencephalic brain.
The cortical hemodynamic response to somatosensory stimulus is investigated at the level of individual vascular compartments using both depth-resolved optical imaging and in-vivo two-photon microscopy. We utilize a new imaging and spatiotemporal analysis approach that exploits the different characteristic dynamics of responding arteries, arterioles, capillaries and veins to isolate their three-dimensional spatial extent within the cortex. This spatial delineation is validated using vascular casts. Temporal delineation is supported by in-vivo two-photon microscopy of the temporal dynamics and vascular mechanisms of the arteriolar and venous responses. Using these techniques we have been able to characterize the roles of the different vascular compartments in generating and controlling the hemodynamic response to somatosensory stimulus. We find that changes in arteriolar total hemoglobin concentration agree well with arteriolar dilation dynamics, which in turn correspond closely with changes in venous blood flow. For 4-s stimuli, we see only small changes in venous hemoglobin concentration, and do not detect measurable dilation or ballooning in the veins. Instead, we see significant evidence of capillary hyperemia. We compare our findings to historical observations of the composite hemodynamic response from other modalities including functional magnetic resonance imaging. Implications of our results are discussed with respect to mathematical models of cortical hemodynamics, and to current theories on the mechanisms underlying neurovascular coupling. We also conclude that our spatiotemporal analysis approach is capable of isolating and localizing signals from the capillary bed local to neuronal activation, and holds promise for improving the specificity of other hemodynamic imaging modalities.
We present a new instrument, based on a low-frame-rate (8Hz) CCD camera used in a heterodyne optical-mixing configuration, that can create wide-field laser Doppler maps. As an illustration, we show results obtained in a mouse brain, in vivo, showing the Doppler signature of blood flow. The instrument is based on a frequency-shifting digital holography scheme.
Ischemic depolarizing events, such as repetitive spontaneous periinfarct spreading depolarizations (PIDs), expand the infarct size after experimental middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion. This worsening may result from increased metabolic demand, exacerbating the mismatch between cerebral blood flow (CBF) and metabolism. Here, we present data showing that anoxic depolarization (AD) and PIDs caused vasoconstriction and abruptly reduced CBF in the ischemic cortex in a distal MCA occlusion model in mice. This reduction in CBF during AD increased the area of cortex with 20% or less residual CBF by 140%. With each subsequent PID, this area expanded by an additional 19%. Drugs that are known to inhibit cortical spreading depression (CSD), such as N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists MK-801 and 7-chlorokynurenic acid, and sigma-1 receptor agonists dextromethorphan and carbetapentane, did not reduce the frequency of PIDs, but did diminish the severity of episodic hypoperfusions, and prevented the expansion of severely hypoperfused cortex, thus improving CBF during 90 mins of acute focal ischemia. In contrast, AMPA receptor antagonist NBQX, which does not inhibit CSD, did not impact the deterioration in CBF. When measured 24 h after distal MCA occlusion, infarct size was reduced by MK-801, but not by NBQX. Our results suggest that AD and PIDs expand the CBF deficit, and by so doing negatively impact lesion development in ischemic mouse brain. Mitigating the vasoconstrictive neurovascular coupling during intense ischemic depolarizations may provide a novel hemodynamic mechanism of neuroprotection by inhibitors of CSD.
Laser speckle imaging of the exposed cerebral cortex allows detailed examination of the time course and topography of perfusion under different experimental conditions. Here we examine the quantitative capacity of the method and its sensitivity for the detection of peri-infarct depolarisations (PIDs). In four cats anaesthetised with chloralose, the right hemisphere was exposed and the right middle cerebral artery was occluded. The brain was illuminated with a laser diode, the speckle pattern was imaged, and images of inverse speckle correlation time (ICT) were derived from the calculated speckle contrast images. We examined the relationship of ICT with perfusion, as imaged quantitively using umbelliferone clearance (CBF). Values of ICT and CBF were compared and regression parameters were calculated for each experiment. In eight cats, cortical surface direct current (DC) potential was monitored at two locations and detection of PIDs by DC potential and ICT change was compared. ICT- and CBF-derived values of perfusion were closely correlated, with a high degree of significance (P < 0.0001). Overall, monitoring of DC potential detected 90% of PIDs, whereas ICT detected 56%. We conclude that (1) laser speckle imaging provides an index of perfusion that has a linear relationship with the clearance rate of umbelliferone within the range of levels of perfusion examined; (2) this relationship is relatively stable between experiments; and (3) the method's ability to detect blood flow changes associated with PIDs likely depends on the noise level of the speckle measurements.
We derive a novel algorithm to recover the in vivo distributions of fluorophores based on an asymptotic lifetime analysis of time-domain fluorescence measurements with turbid tissue. We experimentally demonstrate the advantage offered by this method in localizing fluorophores with distinct lifetimes. This algorithm has wide applicability for diagnostic fluorescence imaging in the presence of several-centimeter-thick biological tissue, since fluorescence lifetime is a sensitive indicator of local tissue environment and interactions at the molecular level.
The spatial extent of the changes in oxy-hemoglobin (HbO), deoxy-hemoglobin (HbR), total hemoglobin concentration (HbT), cerebral blood flow (CBF), and the cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2) in response to forepaw and whisker stimulation were compared in the rat somatosensory cortex using a combination of multi-wavelength reflectance imaging and laser speckle contrast imaging of cerebral blood flow. The spatial extents of the response of each hemodynamic parameter and CMRO2 were found to be comparable at the time of peak response, and at early times following stimulation onset, the spatial extent of the change in HbR was smaller than that of HbO, HbT, CBF, and CMRO2. In addition, a slight spatial dependence was found in the power law coefficient relating changes in CBF and HbT. Although the CMRO2 response is a metabolic measure and thus expected to have a more localized response than the hemodynamic parameters, the results presented here suggest that this may not be the case in general, possibly due to the increased sensitivity of optical imaging techniques to superficial cortical layers where the lateral extent of the metabolic and neuronal activation is larger compared to that in layer IV. In addition, we found that the measured spatial extent of the CMRO2 changes was insensitive to assumptions made in the calculation of the CMRO2 changes such as baseline hemoglobin concentrations, vascular weighting constants, and wavelength dependence of tissue scattering. Multi-parameter full field imaging of the functional response provides a more complete picture of the hemodynamic response to functional activation including the spatial and temporal estimation of CMRO2 changes.
A new technique is presented for measuring the spectral broadening of light that has been multiply scattered from scatterers in motion. In our method the scattered light is detected by a heterodyne receiver that uses a CCD as a multipixel detector. We obtain the frequency spectrum of the scattered light by sweeping the heterodyne local oscillator frequency. Our detection scheme combines a high optical etendue (product of the surface by the detection solid angle) with an optimal detection of the scattered photons (shot noise). Using this technique, we measure, in vivo, the frequency spectrum of the light scattered through the breast of a female volunteer.
Laser speckle contrast imaging is becoming an established method for full-field imaging of cerebral blood flow dynamics in animal models. The sensitivity and noise in the measurement of blood flow changes depend on the camera exposure time. The relation among sensitivity, noise, and camera exposure time was investigated experimentally by imaging the speckle contrast changes in the brain after electrical forepaw stimulation in rats. The sensitivity to relative changes in speckle contrast was found to increase at longer exposure times and to reach a plateau for exposure times greater than approximately 2 ms. However, the speckle contrast noise also increases with exposure time and thus the contrast-to-noise ratio was found to peak at an exposure time of approximately 5 ms. Our results suggests that ~5 ms is an optimal exposure time for imaging of stimulus-induced changes in cerebral blood flow in rodents.
Accurate interpretation of functional MRI (fMRI) signals requires knowledge of the relationship between the hemodynamic response and the neuronal activity that underlies it. Here we address the question of coupling between pre- and postsynaptic neuronal activity and the hemodynamic response in rodent somatosensory (Barrel) cortex in response to single-whisker deflection. Using full-field multiwavelength optical imaging of hemoglobin oxygenation and electrophysiological recordings of spiking activity and local field potentials, we demonstrate that a point hemodynamic measure is influenced by neuronal activity across multiple cortical columns. We demonstrate that the hemodynamic response is a spatiotemporal convolution of the neuronal activation. Therefore, positive hemodynamic response in one cortical column might be explained by neuronal activity not only in that column but also in the neighboring columns. Thus, attempts at characterizing the neurovascular relationship based on point measurements of electrophysiology and hemodynamics may yield inconsistent results, depending on the spatial extent of neuronal activation. The finding that the hemodynamic signal observed at a given location is a function of electrophysiological activity over a broad spatial region helps explain a previously observed increase of local vascular response beyond the saturation of local neuronal activity. We also demonstrate that the oxy- and total-hemoglobin hemodynamic responses can be well approximated by space–time separable functions with an antagonistic center-surround spatial pattern extending over several millimeters. The surround “negative” hemodynamic activity did not correspond to observable changes in neuronal activity. The complex spatial integration of the hemodynamic response should be considered when interpreting fMRI data.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by the presence of aggregates of the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide in the brain. These aggregates manifest themselves as senile plaques and cerebrovascular amyloid angiopathy (CAA). While traditional histochemical approaches can easily identify these deposits in postmortem tissue, only recently have specific ligands been developed to target Aβ in living patients using positron emission tomography (PET). Successful detection of Aβ pathology in patients will enable definitive preclinical diagnosis of AD, and enable quantitative evaluation of the efficacy of anti-Aβ therapeutics developed to treat the disease. PET scanning, however, has several disadvantages including high cost, low availability, and the requirement for radioactive tracers. We describe recent progress in the development of techniques for imaging Aβ deposits noninvasively using optical approaches. Successful development of an optical detection platform would enable inexpensive, accessible, nonradioactive detection of the Aβ deposits found in AD.
We studied unique cerebral blood flow (CBF) responses to cortical spreading depression in mice using a novel two-dimensional CBF imaging technique, laser speckle flowmetry. Cortical spreading depression caused a triphasic CBF response in both rat and mouse cortex. In rats, mild initial hypoperfusion (approximately 75% of baseline) was followed by a transient hyperemia reaching approximately 220% of baseline. In mice, the initial hypoperfusion was pronounced (40–50% of baseline), and the anticipated hyperemic phase barely reached baseline. The duration of hypoperfusion significantly correlated with the duration of the DC shift. As a possible explanation for the pronounced hypoperfusion, mouse cerebral vessels showed enhanced resistance to relaxation by acetylcholine (3 μM) after K+-induced preconstriction (20, 40, and 80 mM) but dilated normally in response to acetylcholine after preconstriction with U46619, a synthetic thromboxane A2 analog. By contrast, rat vessels dilated readily to acetylcholine after preconstriction by K+. The transient normalization of CBF after hypoperfusion in the mouse was abolished by L-NA but not 7-NI. In summary, the CBF response to cortical spreading depression in mice contrasts with the rat in that the initial hypoperfusion is pronounced, and the hyperemic phase is markedly diminished. The differences in CBF response between species may be in part caused by an increased sensitivity of mouse cerebral vessels to elevated extracellular K+.
The growth of computing power has greatly improved our ability to extract quantitative information about complicated three-dimensional structures from microscope images. New hardware techniques are also being developed to provide suitable images for these tasks. However, a need exists for synthetic data to test these new developments. The work reported here was motivated by studies of embryo health, but similar needs exist across the field of microscopy. We report a rigorous computer model, based on Maxwell’s equations, that can produce the required synthetic images for bright-field, differential interference contrast, interferometric imaging, and polarimetric imaging. After a description of the algorithm, sample results are presented, followed by a discussion of future plans and applications.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To test the role of fibrinolysis in stroke, we used a mouse model in which preformed 2.5- to 3-microm-diameter fibrin microemboli are injected into the cerebral circulation. The microemboli lodge in the downstream precapillary vasculature and are susceptible to fibrinolysis. METHODS: We injected various doses of microemboli into the internal carotid artery in mice and characterized their distribution, effects on cerebral blood flow, neurological deficit, infarct area, and spontaneous dissolution. By comparing wild-type and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) knockout (tPA-/-) mice, we analyzed the role of endogenous tPA in acute thrombotic stroke. RESULTS: Microemboli cause dose-dependent brain injury. Although moderate doses of microemboli are followed by spontaneous reperfusion, they result in reproducible injury. Gene knockout of tPA markedly delays dissolution of cerebral emboli and restoration of blood flow and aggravates ischemic thrombotic infarction in the brain. CONCLUSIONS: We describe a microembolic model of stroke, in which degree of injury can be controlled by the dose of microemboli injected. Unlike vessel occlusion models, this model can be modulated to allow spontaneous fibrinolysis. Application to tPA-/- mice supports a key role of endogenous tPA in restoring cerebral blood flow and limiting infarct size after thrombosis.
Laminar optical tomography (LOT) is a new technique that combines the advantages of diffuse optical tomography image reconstruction and a microscopy-based setup to allow noncontact imaging with 100–200‐µm resolution effective over depths of 0–2.5 mm. LOT is being developed primarily for multispectral imaging of rat cortex, for which resolving functional dynamics in various layers of the brain’s cortex (to depths of 1500 µm) is of increasing interest to neurophysiologists. System design and image reconstruction techniques are described, along with simulation and phantom results that demonstrate the characteristics and limitations of system accuracy and resolution.
Laser speckle flowmetry (LSF) is useful to assess noninvasively two-dimensional cerebral blood flow (CBF) with high temporal and spatial resolution. The authors show that LSF can image the spatiotemporal dynamics of CBF changes in mice through an intact skull. When measured by LSF, peak CBF increases during whisker stimulation closely correlated with simultaneous laser-Doppler flowmetry (LDF) measurements, and were greater within the branches of the middle cerebral artery supplying barrel cortex than within barrel cortex capillary bed itself. When LSF was used to study the response to inhaled CO2 (5%), the flow increase was similar to the response reported using LDF. For the upper and lower limits of autoregulation, mean arterial pressure values were 110 and 40 mm Hg, respectively. They also show a linear relationship between absolute resting CBF, as determined by [C]iodoamphetamine technique, and 1/tau(c) values obtained using LSF, and used 1/tau(c) values to compare resting CBF between different animals. Finally, the authors studied CBF changes after distal middle cerebral artery ligation, and developed a model to investigate the spatial distribution and hemodynamics of moderate to severely ischemic cortex. In summary, LSF has distinct advantages over LDF for CBF monitoring because of high spatial resolution.
Recent advances in brain imaging techniques, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), offer great promise for noninvasive mapping of brain function. However, the indirect nature of the imaging signals to the underlying neural activity limits the interpretation of the resulting maps. The present report represents the first systematic study with sufficient statistical power to quantitatively characterize the relationship between changes in blood oxygen content and the neural spiking and synaptic activity. Using two-dimensional optical measurements of hemodynamic signals, simultaneous recordings of neural activity, and an event-related stimulus paradigm, we demonstrate that (1) there is a strongly nonlinear relationship between electrophysiological measures of neuronal activity and the hemodynamic response, (2) the hemodynamic response continues to grow beyond the saturation of electrical activity, and (3) the initial increase in deoxyhemoglobin that precedes an increase in blood volume is counterbalanced by an equal initial decrease in oxyhemoglobin.
A simple instrument is demonstrated for high-resolution simultaneous imaging of total hemoglobin concentration and oxygenation and blood flow in the brain by combining rapid multiwavelength imaging with laser speckle contrast imaging. The instrument was used to image changes in oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin and blood flow during cortical spreading depression and single whisker stimulation in rats through a thinned skull. The ability to image blood flow and hemoglobin concentration changes simultaneously with high resolution will permit detailed quantitative analysis of the spatiotemporal hemodynamics of functional brain activation, including imaging of oxygen metabolism. This is of significance to the neuroscience community and will lead to a better understanding of the interrelationship of neural, metabolic, and hemodynamic processes in normal and diseased brains.
We describe a novel Monte Carlo code for photon migration through 3D media with spatially varying optical properties. The code is validated against analytic solutions of the photon diffusion equation for semi-infinite homogeneous media. The code is also cross-validated for photon migration through a slab with an absorbing heterogeneity. A demonstration of the utility of the code is provided by showing time-resolved photon migration through a human head. This code, known as ‘tMCimg’, is available on the web and can serve as a resource for solving the forward problem for complex 3D structural data obtained by MRI or CT.
Although the trigeminal nerve innervates the meninges and participates in the genesis of migraine headaches, triggering mechanisms remain controversial and poorly understood. Here we establish a link between migraine aura and headache by demonstrating that cortical spreading depression, implicated in migraine visual aura, activates trigeminovascular afferents and evokes a series of cortical meningeal and brainstem events consistent with the development of headache. Cortical spreading depression caused long-lasting blood-flow enhancement selectively within the middle meningeal artery dependent upon trigeminal and parasympathetic activation, and plasma protein leakage within the dura mater in part by a neurokinin-1-receptor mechanism. Our findings provide a neural mechanism by which extracerebral cephalic blood flow couples to brain events; this mechanism explains vasodilation during headache and links intense neurometabolic brain activity with the transmission of headache pain by the trigeminal nerve.
We introduce a novel and efficient method to provide solutions to inverse photon migration problems in heterogeneous turbid media. The method extracts derivative information from a single Monte Carlo simulation to permit the rapid determination of rates of change in the detected photon signal with respect to perturbations in background tissue optical properties. We then feed this derivative information to a nonlinear optimization algorithm to determine the optical properties of the tissue heterogeneity under examination. We demonstrate the use of this approach to solve rapidly a two-region inverse problem of photon migration in the transport regime, for which diffusion-approximation-based approaches are not applicable.
A method for dynamic, high-resolution cerebral blood flow (CBF) imaging is presented in this article. By illuminating the cortex with laser light and imaging the resulting speckle pattern, relative CBF images with tens of microns spatial and millisecond temporal resolution are obtained. The regional CBF changes measured with the speckle technique are validated through direct comparison with conventional laser-Doppler measurements. Using this method, dynamic images of the relative CBF changes during focal cerebral ischemia and cortical spreading depression were obtained along with electrophysiologic recordings. Upon middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion, the speckle technique yielded high-resolution images of the residual CBF gradient encompassing the ischemic core, penumbra, oligemic, and normally perfused tissues over a 6 x 4 mm cortical area. Successive speckle images demonstrated a further decrease in residual CBF indicating an expansion of the ischemic zone with finely delineated borders. Dynamic CBF images during cortical spreading depression revealed a 2 to 3 mm area of increased CBF (160% to 250%) that propagated with a velocity of 2 to 3 mm/min. This technique is easy to implement and can be used to monitor the spatial and temporal evolution of CBF changes with high resolution in studies of cerebral pathophysiology.
We demonstrate a new method for imaging through several millimeters of a turbid sample with a resolution of approximately 100 µm by combining aspects of confocal reflectance microscopy and diffuse optical tomography. By laterally displacing the pinhole aperture of a confocal microscope we can achieve small source–detector separations and detect minimally scattered light. A reconstruction algorithm based on the first Born approximation to the radiative transport equation is then used to reconstruct an image of a 100‐µm absorbing object located 2 mm beneath the surface.
Multiphoton-targeted photochemistry was used to selectively inactivate the expression of genes in vertebrate cells. A membrane permeable DNA-associating vital dye, ethidium bromide monoacetate (visible wavelength single photon absorption peak at 530 nm) was used to photosensitize chromosomes in dividing cells. A 100-ps infrared laser beam operating at 1.06 microns was focused onto a selected region of a mitotic chromosome corresponding to the sites of the nucleolar (ribosomal) genes. Individual cells followed through mitosis demonstrated a reduction in the number of nucleoli formed in daughter cells that corresponded to the number of nucleolar genes sites irradiated. These results demonstrate the ability to selectively manipulate genes by using the focal point specificity characteristic of multiphoton microscopy. This technique should have wide biotechnology applications both in vitro and in vivo.
We combine the finite-difference time-domain method with pulse response techniques in order to calculate the light scattering properties of biological cells over a range of wavelengths simultaneously. The method we describe can be used to compute the scattering patterns of cells containing multiple heterogeneous organelles, providing greater geometric flexibility than Mie theory solutions. Using a desktop computer, we calculate the scattering patterns for common homogeneous models of biological cells and also for more complex representations of cellular morphology. We find that the geometry chosen significantly impacts scattering properties, emphasizing the need for careful consideration of appropriate theoretical models of cellular scattering and for accurate microscopic determination of optical properties.
A numerical model was developed to simulate the effects of tissue optical properties, objective numerical aperture (N.A.), and instrument performance on two-photon-excited fluorescence imaging of turbid samples. Model data are compared with measurements of fluorescent microspheres in a tissuelike scattering phantom. Our results show that the measured two-photon-excited signal decays exponentially with increasing focal depth. The overall decay constant is a function of absorption and scattering parameters at both excitation and emission wavelengths. The generation of two-photon fluorescence is shown to be independent of the scattering anisotropy, g, except for g > 0.95. The N.A. for which the maximum signal is collected varies with depth, although this effect is not seen until the focal plane is greater than two scattering mean free paths into the sample. Overall, measurements and model results indicate that resolution in two-photon microscopy is dependent solely on the ability to deliver sufficient ballistic photon density to the focal volume. As a result we show that lateral resolution in two-photon microscopy is largely unaffected by tissue optical properties in the range typically encountered in soft tissues, although the maximum imaging depth is strongly dependent on absorption and scattering coefficients, scattering anisotropy, and objective N.A..
We have examined the light-scattering properties of inhomogeneous biological cells through a combination of theoretical simulations and goniometric measurements. A finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) technique was used to compute intensity as a function of scattering angle for cells containing multiple organelles and spatially varying index of refraction profiles. An automated goniometer was constructed to measure the scattering properties of dilute cell suspensions. Measurements compared favorably with FDTD predictions. FDTD and experimental results indicate that scattering properties are strongly influenced by cellular biochemical and morphological structure.
The use of high resolution, in vivo confocal imaging for noninvasive assessment of tissue pathology may offer a clinically important adjunct to standard histopathological techniques. To augment the present understanding of both the capabilities and limitations of in vivo confocal imaging, we investigated cellular sources of image contrast in amelanotic tissues, how contrast can be enhanced with external agents and how contrast is degraded by the scattering of overlying cells. A high-resolution reflected light confocal microscope was constructed and used to obtain images of various types of unstained amelanotic cells in suspension in real time before and after the addition of contrast agents. Reflectance images were compared to phase contrast images and electron micrographs to identify morphology visible with real time reflected light confocal microscopy. Mechanisms which decrease image contrast, including interference effects and scattering in overlying layers of cells, were considered. In amelanotic epithelial cells, fluctuations in the nuclear index of refraction provide signal which can be imaged even under several overlying cell layers. Acetic acid is an external contrast agent which can enhance this nuclear backscattering. Image contrast is degraded by the presence of multiple scattering in overlying cell layers. The degradation of image contrast by cell scattering depends on the scattering phase function; in vitro models which use polystyrene microspheres to approximate tissue underestimate the actual degradation caused by cell scattering. The loss in contrast can be explained using a finite difference time domain model of cellular scattering. We conclude that near real time reflected light confocal microscopy can be used to study cell morphology in vivo. Contrast degradation due to overlying tissue is a concern and cannot adequately be modeled using conventional tissue phantoms; however, acetic acid may be used to substantially increase intrinsic contrast, allowing imaging at significant depths despite distortion from overlying layers.
We present experiments to predict the maximum penetration depth at which typical biological structures in amelanotic tissue can be detected with confocal microscopy. The detected signal is examined as the signal source strength (index of refraction mismatch), the source depth, and the medium scattering coefficient are varied. The detected background produced by scattering outside the focal volume is examined as the medium scattering coefficient, the depth in the medium, the dimensionless pinhole radius, ν p, and the shape of the scattering phase function are varied. When the system approaches ideal confocal performance (ν p ≃ 3), the penetration depth is limited by the signal-to-noise ratio to approximately 3–4 optical depths (OD’s) for a 0.05 index mismatch. As ν p increases to 8, the penetration depth is limited by the signal-to-background ratio and is dependent on the scattering coefficient. At μs= 100 cm-1 (l s = 100 μm) and an index mismatch of 0.05, the maximum penetration depth is approximately 2 OD.
Transscleral cyclophotocoagulation (TSCPC) is currently performed clinically as an effective treatment for end-stage glaucoma. We develop a theoretical model for the analysis of optical attenuation phenomena during TSCPC as a basis for selection of an optimal wavelength. A multilayered Monte Carlo model was developed to calculate the fluence and the rate of heat generation in each tissue layer for the wavelengths of Nd:YAG, diode, ruby, krypton yellow, and argon lasers. Of the five wavelengths under study, our theoretical results suggest that the diode laser wavelength offers the best penetration through the conjunctiva, sclera, and ciliary muscle and highest absorption within the ciliary pigment epithelium.
The finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) technique is used to compute light scattering from biological cells in two dimensions. Results are presented for the computed scattering patterns of cells containing multiple organelles. This method provides considerably more flexibility than Mie theory because of its ability to model inhomogeneous objects such as cells.
Using the finite-difference time-domain method, three-dimensional scattering patterns are computed for cells containing multiple organelles. The scattering cross section and average cosine of the scattering angle are computed for cells as a function of volume fraction of melanin granules and mitochondria. Results show that small organelles play a significant role in light scattering from cells, and the volume fraction of organelles affects both the total amount of scattered light and the angular distribution of scattered light.
The relationship between optical properties and image contrast in confocal imaging is investigated. A Monte Carlo simulation has been developed to analyze the effects of changes in scattering, index of refraction, and absorption in a three-layer medium. Contrast was calculated from the computed signal-to-background ratios for changes in tissue optical properties. Results show that the largest source of contrast is changes in refractive index.
The transfer function of a turbid medium such as biological tissue provides a method of analyzing the spatial resolution of a time-resolved tissue imaging system. A method is presented of calculating the transfer function with the use of a Monte Carlo simulation. The model allows the computation of the time-resolved line-spread function of a sample of thickness d from a simulation of thickness d/2 by use of reciprocity under certain conditions, and the transfer function can then be computed from the line-spread function. Results with this method agree with previously published theoretical and experimental results.