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Optical coherence tomography imaging of capillary reperfusion after ischemic stroke

Abstract

Although progress has been made for recanalization therapies after ischemic stroke, post-treatment imaging studies show that tissue reperfusion cannot be attained despite satisfactory recanalization in a significant percentage of patients. Hence, investigation of microcirculatory changes in both surface and deep cortical levels after ischemia reperfusion is important for understanding the post-stroke blood flow dynamics. In this study, we applied optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging of cerebral blood flow for the quantification of the microcirculatory changes. We obtained OCT microangiogram of the brain cortex in a mouse stroke model and analyzed the data to trace changes in the capillary perfusion level (CPL) before, during, and after the stroke. The CPL changes were estimated in 1 and 2 h ischemia groups as well as in a non-ischemic sham-operated group. For the estimation of CPL, a decorrelation amplitude-based algorithm was implemented and used. As a result, the CPL considerably decreased during ischemia but recovered to the baseline when recanalization was performed 1 h after ischemia; however, the CPL was significantly reduced when recanalization was delayed to 2 h after ischemia. These data demonstrate that ischemia causes microcirculation dysfunction, leading to a decreased capillary reperfusion after recanalization. Microcirculatory no-reflow warrants more rigorous assessment in clinical trials, whereas advanced optical imaging techniques may provide mechanistic insight and solutions in experimental studies.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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