This technique has now been proposed to study amyloids, aggregates of oddly conformed proteins that can form deposits in the extracellular medium and inside the vessel walls. This causes multiple diseases involving neurodegeneration and malfunction of the cerebral vasculature. Such molecular complexes are commonly imaged in histological slices using specific labelling, but very few techniques enable joint imaging of labeled amyloids and vasculature function.
In this paper, Yifeng Zhou and colleagues introduce a photoacoustic microscopy technique that is able to simultaneously image these in vivo providing functional data such as hemoglobin concentration blood flow speed and oxygen saturation, a combination that was never previously reached. Based on a craftily synchronized setup, they could exploit polarization-dependent absorption of amyloids and spectrally-dependent absorption of oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin, revealing highly specific contrasts in one single raster-scan. This technique may help to untangle the role of amyloid deposits in various disorders linked to impaired vasculature.
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