Optical coherence tomography reveals heterogeneity of the brain tissue and vasculature in the ischemic region after photothrombotic stroke in mice


We demonstrate in vivo imaging of the ischemic area in the mouse brain after photostroke using a custom prototype Gaussian‑beam optical coherence tomography (OCT) setup in which the near infrared imaging beam and the green photoinducing light pass through the same objective lens. The goal of our research was analysis of vascularity of the ischemic area during 2‑week progress of stroke and correlating the hypo‑ and hyperreflective OCT scattering areas with the location of activated microglia and astroglia. Angiogenesis, which was assessed using angiomaps, showed that the area of vessels in the ischemic center increased until day 7. OCT imaging revealed a heterogeneous scattering signal pattern in the ischemic area. On structural OCT images, we found presence of a core area of ischemia with a hyporeflective OCT signal and a halo of hyperreflective signal around the core. The core signal decreased in size by 70% by day 14. Immunocytochemistry revealed that the hyporeflective area in the ischemic core was associated with microglia/macrophage activation, whereas the hyperreflective signal from the halo came from activated astrocytes.
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