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Studying the inner ear microvascular dynamics is extremely important to understand the cochlear function and to further advance the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of many otologic disorders. However, there is currently no effective imaging tool available that is able to access the blood flow within the intact cochlea. In this paper, we report the use of an ultrahigh sensitive optical micro-angiography (UHS-OMAG) imaging system to image 3-D microvascular perfusion within the intact cochlea in living mice. The UHS-OMAG image system used in this study is based on spectral domain optical coherence tomography, which uses a broadband light source centered at 1300 nm with an imaging rate of 47thinspace 000 A-scans/s, capable of acquiring high-resolution B scans at 300 frames/s. The technique is sensitive enough to image very slow blood flow velocities, such as those found in capillary networks. The 3-D imaging acquisition time for a whole cochlea is ~ 4.1 s. We demonstrate that volumetric reconstruction of microvascular flow obtained by UHS-OMAG provides a comprehensive perfusion map of several regions of the cochlea, including the otic capsule, the stria vascularis of the apical and middle turns and the radiating arterioles that emanate from the modiolus.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2011