Label-free determination of hemodynamic parameters in the microcirculaton with third harmonic generation microscopy.
ABSTRACT: Determination of blood flow velocity and related hemodynamic parameters is an important aspect of physiological studies which in many settings requires fluorescent labeling. Here we show that Third Harmonic Generation (THG) microscopy is a suitable tool for label-free intravital investigations of the microcirculation in widely-used physiological model systems. THG microscopy is a non-fluorescent multi-photon scanning technique combining the advantages of label-free imaging with restriction of signal generation to a focal spot. Blood flow was visualized and its velocity was measured in adult mouse cremaster muscle vessels, non-invasively in mouse ear vessels and in Xenopus tadpoles. In arterioles, THG line scanning allowed determination of the flow pulse velocity curve and hence the heart rate. By relocating the scan line we obtained velocity profiles through vessel diameters, allowing shear rate calculations. The cell free layer containing the glycocalyx was also visualized. Comparison of the current microscopic resolution with theoretical, diffraction limited resolution let us conclude that an about sixty-fold THG signal intensity increase may be possible with future improved optics, optimized for 1200-1300 nm excitation. THG microscopy is compatible with simultaneous two-photon excited fluorescence detection. It thus also provides the opportunity to determine important hemodynamic parameters in parallel to common fluorescent observations without additional label.
Project description:Second and Third Harmonic Generation (SHG and THG) microscopy is based on optical effects which are induced by specific inherent physical properties of a specimen. As a multi-photon laser scanning approach which is not based on fluorescence it combines the advantages of a label-free technique with restriction of signal generation to the focal plane, thus allowing high resolution 3D reconstruction of image volumes without out-of-focus background several hundred micrometers deep into the tissue. While in mammalian soft tissues SHG is mostly restricted to collagen fibers and striated muscle myosin, THG is induced at a large variety of structures, since it is generated at interfaces such as refraction index changes within the focal volume of the excitation laser. Besides, colorants such as hemoglobin can cause resonance enhancement, leading to intense THG signals. We applied SHG and THG microscopy to murine (Mus musculus) muscles, an established model system for physiological research, to investigate their potential for label-free tissue imaging. In addition to collagen fibers and muscle fiber substructure, THG allowed us to visualize blood vessel walls and erythrocytes as well as white blood cells adhering to vessel walls, residing in or moving through the extravascular tissue. Moreover peripheral nerve fibers could be clearly identified. Structure down to the nuclear chromatin distribution was visualized in 3D and with more detail than obtainable by bright field microscopy. To our knowledge, most of these objects have not been visualized previously by THG or any label-free 3D approach. THG allows label-free microscopy with inherent optical sectioning and therefore may offer similar improvements compared to bright field microscopy as does confocal laser scanning microscopy compared to conventional fluorescence microscopy.
Project description:The ability to visualize neurons inside living brain tissue is a fundamental requirement in neuroscience and neurosurgery. Especially the development of a noninvasive probe of brain morphology with micrometer-scale resolution is highly desirable, as it would provide a noninvasive approach to optical biopsies in diagnostic medicine. Two-photon laser-scanning microscopy (2PLSM) is a powerful tool in this regard, and has become the standard for minimally invasive high-resolution imaging of living biological samples. However, while 2PLSM-based optical methods provide sufficient resolution, they have been hampered by the requirement for fluorescent dyes to provide image contrast. Here we demonstrate high-contrast imaging of live brain tissue at cellular resolution, without the need for fluorescent probes, using optical third-harmonic generation (THG). We exploit the specific geometry and lipid content of brain tissue at the cellular level to achieve partial phase matching of THG, providing an alternative contrast mechanism to fluorescence. We find that THG brain imaging allows rapid, noninvasive label-free imaging of neurons, white-matter structures, and blood vessels simultaneously. Furthermore, we exploit THG-based imaging to guide micropipettes towards designated neurons inside live tissue. This work is a major step towards label-free microscopic live brain imaging, and opens up possibilities for the development of laser-guided microsurgery techniques in the living brain.
Project description:Real-time assessment of excised tissue may help to improve surgical results in breast tumor surgeries. Here, as a step towards this purpose, the potential of second and third harmonic generation (SHG, THG) microscopy is explored. SHG and THG are nonlinear optical microscopic techniques that do not require labeling of tissue to generate 3D images with intrinsic depth-sectioning at sub-cellular resolution. Until now, this technique had been applied on fixated breast tissue or to visualize the stroma only, whereas most tumors start in the lobules and ducts. Here, SHG/THG images of freshly excised unprocessed healthy human tissue are shown to reveal key breast components-lobules, ducts, fat tissue, connective tissue and blood vessels, in good agreement with hematoxylin and eosin histology. DNA staining of fresh unprocessed mouse breast tissue was performed to aid in the identification of cell nuclei in label-free THG images. Furthermore, 2- and 3-photon excited auto-fluorescence images of mouse and human tissue are collected for comparison. The SHG/THG imaging modalities generate high quality images of freshly excised tissue in less than a minute with an information content comparable to that of the gold standard, histopathology. Therefore, SHG/THG microscopy is a promising tool for real-time assessment of excised tissue during surgery.
Project description:The ability to measure blood velocities is critical for studying vascular development, physiology, and pathology. A key challenge is to quantify a wide range of blood velocities in vessels deep within living specimens with concurrent diffraction-limited resolution imaging of vascular cells. Two-photon laser scanning microscopy (TPLSM) has shown tremendous promise in analyzing blood velocities hundreds of micrometers deep in animals with cellular resolution. However, current analysis of TPLSM-based data is limited to the lower range of blood velocities and is not adequate to study faster velocities in many normal or disease conditions.We developed line-scanning particle image velocimetry (LS-PIV), which used TPLSM data to quantify peak blood velocities up to 84 mm/s in live mice harboring brain arteriovenous malformation, a disease characterized by high flow. With this method, we were able to accurately detect the elevated blood velocities and exaggerated pulsatility along the abnormal vascular network in these animals. LS-PIV robustly analyzed noisy data from vessels as deep as 850 µm below the brain surface. In addition to analyzing in vivo data, we validated the accuracy of LS-PIV up to 800 mm/s using simulations with known velocity and noise parameters.To our knowledge, these blood velocity measurements are the fastest recorded with TPLSM. Partnered with transgenic mice carrying cell-specific fluorescent reporters, LS-PIV will also enable the direct in vivo correlation of cellular, biochemical, and hemodynamic parameters in high flow vascular development and diseases such as atherogenesis, arteriogenesis, and vascular anomalies.
Project description:Two-photon laser scanning microscopy is widely used to measure blood hemodynamics in brain blood vessels. Still, the algorithms used so far to extract red blood cell (RBC) size and velocity from line-scan acquisitions have ignored the extent to which scanning speed influences the measurements. Here, we used a theoretical approach that takes into account the velocity and direction of both scanning mirrors and RBCs during acquisition to provide an algorithm that measures the real RBC size and velocity. We validate our approach in brain vessels of anesthetized mice, and demonstrate that it corrects online measurement errors that can reach several 10s of percent as well as data previously acquired. To conclude, our analysis allows unbiased comparisons of blood hemodynamic parameters from brain capillaries and large vessels in control and pathological animal models.
Project description:The vasculature undergoes changes in diameter, permeability and blood flow in response to specific stimuli. The dynamics and interdependence of these responses in different vessels are largely unknown. Here we report a non-invasive technique to study dynamic events in different vessel categories by multi-photon microscopy and an image analysis tool, RVDM (relative velocity, direction, and morphology) allowing the identification of vessel categories by their red blood cell (RBC) parameters. Moreover, Claudin5 promoter-driven green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression is used to distinguish capillary subtypes. Intradermal injection of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) is shown to induce leakage of circulating dextran, with vessel-type-dependent kinetics, from capillaries and venules devoid of GFP expression. VEGFA-induced leakage in capillaries coincides with vessel dilation and reduced flow velocity. Thus, intravital imaging of non-invasive stimulation combined with RVDM analysis allows for recording and quantification of very rapid events in the vasculature.
Project description:Phase contrast cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is able to measure all three directional components of the velocities of blood flow relative to the three spatial dimensions and the time course of the heart cycle. In this article, methods used for the acquisition, visualization, and quantification of such datasets are reviewed and illustrated.Currently, the acquisition of 3D cine (4D) phase contrast velocity data, synchronized relative to both cardiac and respiratory movements takes about ten minutes or more, even when using parallel imaging and optimized pulse sequence design. The large resulting datasets need appropriate post processing for the visualization of multidirectional flow, for example as vector fields, pathlines or streamlines, or for retrospective volumetric quantification.Multidirectional velocity acquisitions have provided 3D visualization of large scale flow features of the healthy heart and great vessels, and have shown altered patterns of flow in abnormal chambers and vessels. Clinically relevant examples include retrograde streams in atheromatous descending aortas as potential thrombo-embolic pathways in patients with cryptogenic stroke and marked variations of flow visualized in common aortic pathologies. Compared to standard clinical tools, 4D velocity mapping offers the potential for retrospective quantification of flow and other hemodynamic parameters.Multidirectional, 3D cine velocity acquisitions are contributing to the understanding of normal and pathologically altered blood flow features. Although more rapid and user-friendly strategies for acquisition and analysis may be needed before 4D velocity acquisitions come to be adopted in routine clinical CMR, their capacity to measure multidirectional flows throughout a study volume has contributed novel insights into cardiovascular fluid dynamics in health and disease.
Project description:Arteriovenous (AV) malformation (AVM) is a devastating condition characterized by focal lesions of enlarged, tangled vessels that shunt blood from arteries directly to veins. AVMs can form anywhere in the body and can cause debilitating ischemia and life-threatening hemorrhagic stroke. The mechanisms that underlie AVM formation remain poorly understood. Here, we examined the cellular and hemodynamic changes at the earliest stages of brain AVM formation by time-lapse two-photon imaging through cranial windows of mice expressing constitutively active Notch4 (Notch4*). AVMs arose from enlargement of preexisting microvessels with capillary diameter and blood flow and no smooth muscle cell coverage. AV shunting began promptly after Notch4* expression in endothelial cells (ECs), accompanied by increased individual EC areas, rather than increased EC number or proliferation. Alterations in Notch signaling in ECs of all vessels, but not arteries alone, affected AVM formation, suggesting that Notch functions in the microvasculature and/or veins to induce AVM. Increased Notch signaling interfered with the normal biological control of hemodynamics, permitting a positive feedback loop of increasing blood flow and vessel diameter and driving focal AVM growth from AV connections with higher blood velocity at the expense of adjacent AV connections with lower velocity. Endothelial expression of constitutively active Notch1 also led to brain AVMs in mice. Our data shed light on cellular and hemodynamic mechanisms underlying AVM pathogenesis elicited by increased Notch signaling in the endothelium.
Project description:Interfaces provide the structural basis of essential bone functions. In the hierarchical structure of bone tissue, heterogeneities such as porosity or boundaries are found at scales ranging from nanometers to millimeters, all of which contributing to macroscopic properties. To date, however, the complexity or limitations of currently used imaging methods restrict our understanding of this functional integration. Here we address this issue using label-free third-harmonic generation (THG) microscopy. We find that the porous lacuno-canalicular network (LCN), revealing the geometry of osteocytes in the bone matrix, can be directly visualized in 3D with submicron precision over millimetric fields of view compatible with histology. THG also reveals interfaces delineating volumes formed at successive remodeling stages. Finally, we show that the structure of the LCN can be analyzed in relation with that of the extracellular matrix and larger-scale structures by simultaneously recording THG and second-harmonic generation (SHG) signals relating to the collagen organization.
Project description:Vascular changes underlying headache in migraine patients induced by Glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) were previously studied with various imaging techniques. Despite the long history of medical and experimental use of GTN, its effects on the brain vasculature are still poorly understood presumably due to low spatial resolution of the imaging modalities used so far. We took advantage of the micrometer-scale vertical resolution of two-photon microscopy to differentiate between the vasodynamic effects of GTN on meningeal versus cortical vessels imaged simultaneously in anesthetized rats through either thinned skull or glass-sealed cranial window. Intermediate and small calibre vessels were visualized in vivo by imaging intravascular fluorescent dextran, and detection of blood flow direction allowed identification of individual arterioles and venules. We found that i.p.-injected GTN induced a transient constriction of meningeal arterioles, while their cortical counterparts were, in contrast, dilated. These opposing effects of GTN were restricted to arterioles, whereas the effects on venules were insignificant. Interestingly, the NO synthase inhibitor L-NAME did not affect the diameter of meningeal vessels but induced a constriction of cortical vessels. The different cellular environment in cortex versus meninges as well as distinct vessel wall anatomical features probably play crucial role in the observed phenomena. These findings highlight differential region- and vessel-type-specific effects of GTN on cranial vessels, and may implicate new vascular mechanisms of NO-mediated primary headaches.