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Multiparametric, longitudinal optical coherence tomography imaging reveals acute injury and chronic recovery in experimental ischemic stroke.


Progress in experimental stroke and translational medicine could be accelerated by high-resolution in vivo imaging of disease progression in the mouse cortex. Here, we introduce optical microscopic methods that monitor brain injury progression using intrinsic optical scattering properties of cortical tissue. A multi-parametric Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) platform for longitudinal imaging of ischemic stroke in mice, through thinned-skull, reinforced cranial window surgical preparations, is described. In the acute stages, the spatiotemporal interplay between hemodynamics and cell viability, a key determinant of pathogenesis, was imaged. In acute stroke, microscopic biomarkers for eventual infarction, including capillary non-perfusion, cerebral blood flow deficiency, altered cellular scattering, and impaired autoregulation of cerebral blood flow, were quantified and correlated with histology. Additionally, longitudinal microscopy revealed remodeling and flow recovery after one week of chronic stroke. Intrinsic scattering properties serve as reporters of acute cellular and vascular injury and recovery in experimental stroke. Multi-parametric OCT represents a robust in vivo imaging platform to comprehensively investigate these properties.

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