3D cellular-resolution imaging in arteries using few-mode interferometry.
ABSTRACT: Cross-sectional visualisation of the cellular and subcellular structures of human atherosclerosis in vivo is significant, as this disease is fundamentally caused by abnormal processes that occur at this scale in a depth-dependent manner. However, due to the inherent resolution-depth of focus tradeoff of conventional focusing optics, today's highest-resolution intravascular imaging technique, namely, optical coherence tomography (OCT), is unable to provide cross-sectional images at this resolution through a coronary catheter. Here, we introduce an intravascular imaging system and catheter based on few-mode interferometry, which overcomes the depth of focus limitation of conventional high-numerical-aperture objectives and enables three-dimensional cellular-resolution intravascular imaging in vivo by a submillimetre diameter, flexible catheter. Images of diseased cadaver human coronary arteries and living rabbit arteries were acquired with this device, showing clearly resolved cellular and subcellular structures within the artery wall, such as individual crystals, smooth muscle cells, and inflammatory cells. The capability of this technology to enable cellular-resolution, cross-sectional intravascular imaging will make it possible to study and diagnose human coronary disease with much greater precision in the future.
Project description:Intravascular photoacoustic tomography is an emerging technology for mapping lipid deposition within an arterial wall for the investigation of the vulnerability of atherosclerotic plaques to rupture. By converting localized laser absorption in lipid-rich biological tissue into ultrasonic waves through thermoelastic expansion, intravascular photoacoustic tomography is uniquely capable of imaging the entire arterial wall with chemical selectivity and depth resolution. However, technical challenges, including an imaging catheter with sufficient sensitivity and depth and a functional sheath material without significant signal attenuation and artifact generation for both photoacoustics and ultrasound, have prevented in vivo application of intravascular photoacoustic imaging for clinical translation. Here, we present a highly sensitive quasi-collinear dual-mode photoacoustic/ultrasound catheter with elaborately selected sheath material, and demonstrated the performance of our intravascular photoacoustic tomography system by in vivo imaging of lipid distribution in rabbit aortas under clinically relevant conditions at imaging speeds up to 16 frames per second. Ex vivo evaluation of fresh human coronary arteries further confirmed the performance of our imaging system for accurate lipid localization and quantification of the entire arterial wall, indicating its clinical significance and translational capability.
Project description:This study sought to develop a 2-dimensional (2D) intravascular near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging strategy for investigation of arterial inflammation in coronary-sized vessels.Molecular imaging of arterial inflammation could provide new insights into the pathogenesis of acute myocardial infarction stemming from coronary atheromata and implanted stents. Presently, few high-resolution approaches can image inflammation in coronary-sized arteries in vivo.A new 2.9-F rotational, automated pullback 2D imaging catheter was engineered and optimized for 360° viewing intravascular NIRF imaging. In conjunction with the cysteine protease-activatable imaging reporter Prosense VM110 (VisEn Medical, Woburn, Massachusetts), intra-arterial 2D NIRF imaging was performed in rabbit aortas with atherosclerosis (n =10) or implanted coronary bare-metal stents (n = 10, 3.5-mm diameter, day 7 post-implantation). Intravascular ultrasound provided coregistered anatomical images of arteries. After sacrifice, specimens underwent ex vivo NIRF imaging, fluorescence microscopy, and histological and immunohistochemical analyses.Imaging of coronary artery-scaled phantoms demonstrated 8-sector angular resolution and submillimeter axial resolution, nanomolar sensitivity to NIR fluorochromes, and modest NIRF light attenuation through blood. High-resolution NIRF images of vessel wall inflammation with signal-to-noise ratios >10 were obtained in real-time through blood, without flushing or occlusion. In atherosclerosis, 2D NIRF, intravascular ultrasound-NIRF fusion, microscopy, and immunoblotting studies provided insight into the spatial distribution of plaque protease activity. In stent-implanted vessels, real-time imaging illuminated an edge-based pattern of stent-induced arterial inflammation.A new 2D intravascular NIRF imaging strategy provides high-resolution in vivo spatial mapping of arterial inflammation in coronary-sized arteries and reveals increased inflammation-regulated cysteine protease activity in atheromata and stent-induced arterial injury.
Project description:Atherosclerotic coronary artery disease (CAD) is the number one cause of death worldwide. The majority of CAD-induced deaths are due to the rupture of vulnerable plaques. Accurate assessment of plaques is crucial to optimize treatment and prevent death in patients with CAD. Current diagnostic techniques are often limited by either spatial resolution or penetration depth. Several studies have proved that the combined use of optical and ultrasonic imaging techniques increase diagnostic accuracy of vulnerable plaques. Here, we introduce an ultrafast optical-ultrasonic dual-modality imaging system and flexible miniaturized catheter, which enables the translation of this technology into clinical practice. This system can perform simultaneous optical coherence tomography (OCT)-intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging at 72 frames per second safely in vivo, i.e., visualizing a 72?mm-long artery in 4?seconds. Results obtained in atherosclerotic rabbits in vivo and human coronary artery segments show that this ultrafast technique can rapidly provide volumetric mapping of plaques and clearly identify vulnerable plaques. By providing ultrafast imaging of arteries with high resolution and deep penetration depth simultaneously, this hybrid IVUS-OCT technology opens new and safe opportunities to evaluate in real-time the risk posed by plaques, detect vulnerable plaques, and optimize treatment decisions.
Project description:Existing clinical intravascular imaging modalities are not capable of accurate detection of critical plaque pathophysiology in the coronary arteries. This study reports the first intravascular catheter combining intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) with multispectral fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIm) that enables label-free simultaneous assessment of morphological and biochemical features of coronary vessels in vivo. A 3.7 Fr catheter with a fiber-optic channel was constructed based on a 40?MHz clinical IVUS catheter. The ability to safely acquire co-registered FLIm-IVUS data in vivo using Dextran40 solution flushing was demonstrated in swine coronary arteries. FLIm parameters from the arterial wall were consistent with the emission of fluorophores present in healthy arterial wall (collagen, elastin). Additionally, structural and biochemical features from atherosclerotic lesions were acquired in ex vivo human coronary samples and corroborated with histological findings. Current results show that FLIm parameters linked to the amount of structural proteins (e.g. collagen, elastin) and lipids (e.g. foam cells, extracellular lipids) in the first 200??m of the intima provide important biochemical information that can supplement IVUS data for a comprehensive assessment of plaques pathophysiology. The unique FLIm-IVUS system evaluated here has the potential to provide a comprehensive insight into atherosclerotic lesion formation, diagnostics and response to therapy.
Project description:New imaging methods are urgently needed to identify high-risk atherosclerotic lesions prior to the onset of myocardial infarction, stroke, and ischemic limbs. Molecular imaging offers a new approach to visualize key biological features that characterize high-risk plaques associated with cardiovascular events. While substantial progress has been realized in clinical molecular imaging of plaques in larger arterial vessels (carotid, aorta, iliac), there remains a compelling, unmet need to develop molecular imaging strategies targeted to high-risk plaques in human coronary arteries. We present recent developments in intravascular near-IR fluorescence catheter-based strategies for in vivo detection of plaque inflammation in coronary-sized arteries. In particular, the biological, light transmission, imaging agent, and engineering principles that underlie a new intravascular near-IR fluorescence sensing method are discussed. Intravascular near-IR fluorescence catheters appear highly translatable to the cardiac catheterization laboratory, and thus may offer a new in vivo method to detect high-risk coronary plaques and to assess novel atherosclerosis biologics.
Project description:To enable intravascular detection of inflammation in atherosclerosis, we developed a near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) catheter-based strategy to sense cysteine protease activity during vascular catheterization.The NIRF catheter design was based on a clinical coronary artery guidewire. In phantom studies of NIRF plaques, blood produced only a mild (<30%) attenuation of the fluorescence signal compared with saline, affirming the favorable optical properties of the NIR window. Catheter evaluation in vivo used atherosclerotic rabbits (n=11). Rabbits received an injection of a cysteine protease-activatable NIRF imaging agent (Prosense750; excitation/emission, 750/770 nm) or saline. Catheter pullbacks through the blood-filled iliac artery detected NIRF signals 24 hours after injection of the probe. In the protease agent group, the in vivo peak plaque target-to-<0.05). Ex vivo fluorescence reflectance imaging corroborated these results (target-to-<0.01). In the protease group only, saline flush-modulated NIRF signal profiles further distinguished atheromata from normal segments in vivo (P<0.01). Good correlation between the in vivo and ex vivo plaque target-to-=0.82, P<0.01). Histopathological analyses demonstrated strong NIRF signal in plaques only from the protease agent group. NIRF signals colocalized with immunoreactive macrophages and the cysteine protease cathepsin B.An intravascular fluorescence catheter can detect cysteine protease activity in vessels the size of human coronary arteries in real time with an activatable NIRF agent. This strategy could aid in the detection of inflammation and high-risk plaques in small arteries.
Project description:Progression of vulnerable coronary atherosclerotic plaques underlies the majority of acute myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death episodes. Recent advances in biological/molecular imaging technology are now enabling the accurate identification of high-risk plaques and stents in living subjects. Due to their smaller caliber and susceptibility to cardiorespiratory motion, noninvasive molecular imaging of human coronary arteries remains challenging. Therefore, intravascular high-resolution molecular imaging approaches appear necessary to resolve molecular features of human coronary arteries and stents. Here we present recent progress in intravascular near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) molecular imaging, including the evolution from standalone NIRF systems to those integrated with structural imaging methods including optical coherence tomography and intravascular ultrasound. Preclinical demonstrations of imaging inflammation, fibrin, and endothelial impairment are highlighted. We then close with a discussion of translation of NIRF imaging to the cardiac catheterization laboratory and showcase first-in-human intracoronary imaging results of NIR autofluorescence in CAD.
Project description:Correct guiding of the catheter is a critical issue in almost all balloon catheter applications, including arterial stenosis expansion, coronary arterial diseases, and gastrointestinal tracking. To achieve safe and precise guiding of the balloon catheter, a novel imaging method with high-resolution, sufficient depth of penetration, and real-time display is required. Here, we present a new balloon catheter guiding method using fast photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) technique for precise balloon catheter tracking and visualization as a feasibility study. We implemented ex vivo and in vivo experiments with three different medium conditions of balloon catheter: no air, air, and water. Acquired cross-sectional, maximum amplitude projection (MAP), and volumetric 3D PAM images demonstrated its capability as a new imaging guiding tool for balloon catheter tracking and visualization.
Project description:The authors present the clinical imaging of human coronary arteries in vivo using a multimodality optical coherence tomography (OCT) and near-infrared autofluorescence (NIRAF) intravascular imaging system and catheter.Although intravascular OCT is capable of providing microstructural images of coronary atherosclerotic lesions, it is limited in its capability to ascertain the compositional/molecular features of plaque. A recent study in cadaver coronary plaque showed that endogenous NIRAF is elevated in necrotic core lesions. The combination of these 2 technologies in 1 device may therefore provide synergistic data to aid in the diagnosis of coronary pathology in vivo.We developed a dual-modality intravascular imaging system and 2.6-F catheter that can simultaneously acquire OCT and NIRAF data from the same location on the artery wall. This technology was used to obtain volumetric OCT-NIRAF images from 12 patients with coronary artery disease undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. Images were acquired during a brief, nonocclusive 3- to 4-ml/s contrast purge at a speed of 100 frames/s and a pullback rate of 20 or 40 mm/s. OCT-NIRAF data were analyzed to determine the distribution of the NIRAF signal with respect to OCT-delineated plaque morphological features.High-quality intracoronary OCT and NIRAF image data (>50-mm pullback length) were successfully acquired without complication in all patients (17 coronary arteries). The maximum NIRAF signal intensity of each plaque was compared with OCT-defined type, showing a statistically significant difference between plaque types (1-way analysis of variance, p < 0.0001). Interestingly, coronary arterial NIRAF intensity was elevated only focally in plaques with a high-risk morphological phenotype (p < 0.05), including OCT fibroatheroma, plaque rupture, and fibroatheroma associated with in-stent restenosis.This OCT-NIRAF study demonstrates that dual-modality microstructural and fluorescence intracoronary imaging can be safely and effectively conducted in human patients. Our findings show that NIRAF is associated with a high-risk morphological plaque phenotype. The focal distribution of NIRAF in these lesions furthermore suggests that this endogenous imaging biomarker may provide complementary information to that obtained by structural imaging alone.
Project description:Birefringence offers an intrinsic contrast mechanism related to the microstructure and arrangement of fibrillary tissue components. Here we present a reconstruction strategy to recover not only the scalar amount of birefringence but also its optic axis orientation as a function of depth in tissue from measurements with catheter-based polarization sensitive optical coherence tomography. A polarization symmetry constraint, intrinsic to imaging in the backscatter direction, facilitates the required compensation for wavelength-dependent transmission through system elements, the rotating catheter, and overlying tissue layers. Applied to intravascular imaging of coronary atherosclerosis in human patients, the optic axis affords refined interpretation of plaque architecture.