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J Vis Exp. 2012 Feb 21;(60). pii: 3466. doi: 10.3791/3466.

Detection of microregional hypoxia in mouse cerebral cortex by two-photon imaging of endogenous NADH fluorescence.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center.

Abstract

The brain's ability to function at high levels of metabolic demand depends on continuous oxygen supply through blood flow and tissue oxygen diffusion. Here we present a visualized experimental and methodological protocol to directly visualize microregional tissue hypoxia and to infer perivascular oxygen gradients in the mouse cortex. It is based on the non-linear relationship between nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) endogenous fluorescence intensity and oxygen partial pressure in the tissue, where observed tissue NADH fluorescence abruptly increases at tissue oxygen levels below 10 mmHg(1). We use two-photon excitation at 740 nm which allows for concurrent excitation of intrinsic NADH tissue fluorescence and blood plasma contrasted with Texas-Red dextran. The advantages of this method over existing approaches include the following: it takes advantage of an intrinsic tissue signal and can be performed using standard two-photon in vivo imaging equipment; it permits continuous monitoring in the whole field of view with a depth resolution of ~50 μm. We demonstrate that brain tissue areas furthest from cerebral blood vessels correspond to vulnerable watershed areas which are the first to become functionally hypoxic following a decline in vascular oxygen supply. This method allows one to image microregional cortical oxygenation and is therefore useful for examining the role of inadequate or restricted tissue oxygen supply in neurovascular diseases and stroke.

PMID:
22370971
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3376929
Free PMC Article
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