Optical imaging has emerged as a method of choice for a number of anatomical and physiological studies, especially
in animal models. Optical methods offer distinct advantages such as high spatio-temporal resolution, wide array
of available contrast moieties (such as fluorescent dyes, microspheres etc.) and the capability of quantitative “functional
imaging”. In this review, we focus on techniques that are adept for imaging microvascular morphology and perfusion.
Measures of the microvascular architecture include the number, spacing, density and radii of blood vessels. Perfusion indices
include the relative and absolute microvascular blood flow and metrics derived from tracer kinetic theory, such as
the mean transit time. Following detailed descriptions of the biophysics of different optical imaging approaches, we conclude
with a systematic comparison of the strengths and weakness of each depending on the intended application. We believe
this review will serve as a useful starting point for anyone interested in the pre-clinical characterization of microvascular
morphology and perfusion in health and disease.
Keywords: Optical imaging, microvascular, vasculature, perfusion, blood vessel, blood flow, angiogenesis, endothelium, functional.
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Published on: 26 July, 2012
Page: [243 - 260]