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Published November 2014 | Published
Journal Article Open

Photoacoustic lymphatic imaging with high spatial-temporal resolution


Despite its critical function in coordinating the egress of inflammatory and immune cells out of tissues and maintaining fluid balance, the causative role of lymphatic network dysfunction in pathological settings is still understudied. Engineered-animal models and better noninvasive high spatial-temporal resolution imaging techniques in both preclinical and clinical studies will help to improve our understanding of different lymphatic-related pathologic disorders. Our aim was to take advantage of our newly optimized noninvasive wide-field fast-scanning photoacoustic (PA) microcopy system to coordinately image the lymphatic vasculature and its flow dynamics, while maintaining high resolution and detection sensitivity. Here, by combining the optical-resolution PA microscopy with a fast-scanning water-immersible microelectromechanical system scanning mirror, we have imaged the lymph dynamics over a large field-of-view, with high spatial resolution and advanced detection sensitivity. Depending on the application, lymphatic vessels (LV) were spectrally or temporally differentiated from blood vessels. Validation experiments were performed on phantoms and in vivo to identify the LV. Lymphatic flow dynamics in nonpathological and pathological conditions were also visualized. These results indicate that our newly developed PA microscopy is a promising tool for lymphatic-related biological research.

Additional Information

© 2014 SPIE. Paper 140140RR received Mar. 4, 2014; revised manuscript received Sep. 2, 2014; accepted for publication Oct. 14, 2014; published online Nov. 19, 2014. We thank the manuscript editing and technical support from Prof. James Ballard, Dr. Chun-Cheng Chen, and Prof. William Chapman. This work was sponsored by NIH grants DP1 EB016986 (NIH Director's Pioneer Award), R01 CA186567 (NIH Director's Transformative Research Award), R01 CA134539, and R01 CA159959 (to L. V. Wang), R01 HL-096539 (to G.J. Randolph) and NSF grant CMMI-1131758 (to J. Zou). L. V. Wang has a financial interest in Endra, Inc., and Microphotoacoustics, Inc., which, however, did not support this work. Other authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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