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A Multimodal Microvascular Imaging System for the Rodent Dorsal Skinfold Window Chamber: Development, Validation and Application


Port wine stains (PWS) are congenital vascular malformation of the skin that occur in 3-4 infants

per 1000 live births. A major factor that contributes to treatment failures of Port wine stain

(PWS) birthmarks is reperfusion of photocoagulated blood vessels due to wound healing

response. The study of physiological processes that govern the microvasculature plays a major

role in our ability to discover solutions toward enhancement of the current treatments to port

wine stain and many other diseases. The functionality of microvasculature and their response to

external influences is difficult to assess with the traditional analysis techniques such as histology.

The work described in this thesis aims to provide a microvascular optical functional imaging

solution specifically designed for use with the rodent dorsal window chamber models.

Our microvascular imaging system was designed to obtain images with three different imaging

modes: Laser speckle imaging (LSI), Multispectral Imaging/Oxygenation imaging (MSI/O2I)

and Fluorescence imaging (FI). Each of these imaging techniques provides information about the

different aspects of microvessels. LSI is utilized to measure the relative changes in blood flow,

MSI enables computation of hemoglobin saturation maps, and FI highlights biochemical

processes active in a subject. Our analysis showed that the developed imaging system that

combines different imaging techniques could be used as a valuable tool to assess the behavior of

microvessels over time in response to external factors.

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