Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a new way of imaging the functional activity of the brain in unprecedented detail. The team used single-wavelength pulse-width-based photoacoustic microscopy to monitor blood oxygenation, flow, and metabolism down to the level of individual capillaries.
The technique does not require the use of any labels or contrast agents and has been tested on resting and stimulated mouse brains. Comparing the new technique to previous methods, the investigators saw orders of magnitude improvement in the temporal resolution of the imaging of the mouse brain. They’re now able to monitor the brain at 10 microsecond slices down to spatial resolutions 35 times finer than provided by ultrasound-array-based photoacoustic computed tomography.
The team also followed up to review the state of red blood cells that have been impacted by the photoacoustic imaging, demonstrating seemingly no damage to them.
Study in Nature Methods: High-speed label-free functional photoacoustic microscopy of mouse brain in action…