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Measurement of ciliary beat frequency using Doppler optical coherence tomography.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license


Measuring ciliary beat frequency (CBF) is a technical challenge and difficult to perform in vivo. Doppler optical coherence tomography (D-OCT) is a mesoscopic noncontact imaging modality that provides high-resolution tomographic images and detects micromotion simultaneously in living tissues. In this work we used D-OCT to measure CBF in ex vivo tissue as the first step toward translating this technology to clinical use.


Fresh ex vivo samples of rabbit tracheal mucosa were imaged using both D-OCT and phase-contrast microscopy (n = 5). The D-OCT system was designed and built to specification in our lab (1310-nm swept source vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser [VCSEL], 6-μm axial resolution). The samples were placed in culture and incubated at 37°C. A fast Fourier transform was performed on the D-OCT signal recorded on the surface of the samples to gauge CBF. High-speed digital video of the epithelium recorded via phase-contrast microscopy was analyzed to confirm the CBF measurements.


The D-OCT system detected Doppler signal at the epithelial layer of ex vivo rabbit tracheal samples suggestive of ciliary motion. CBF was measured at 9.36 ± 1.22 Hz using D-OCT and 9.08 ± 0.48 Hz using phase-contrast microscopy. No significant differences were found between the 2 methods (p > 0.05).


D-OCT allows for the quantitative measurement of CBF without the need to resolve individual cilia. Furthermore, D-OCT technology can be incorporated into endoscopic platforms that allow clinicians to readily measure CBF in the office and provide a direct measurement of mucosal health.

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