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Nat Methods. 2006 Feb;3(2):99-108.

Targeted insult to subsurface cortical blood vessels using ultrashort laser pulses: three models of stroke.

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Department of Physics, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.


We present a method to produce vascular disruptions within rat brain parenchyma that targets single microvessels. We used two-photon microscopy to image vascular architecture, to select a vessel for injury and to measure blood-flow dynamics. We irradiated the vessel with high-fluence, ultrashort laser pulses and achieved three forms of vascular insult. (i) Vessel rupture was induced at the highest optical energies; this provides a model for hemorrhage. (ii) Extravasation of blood components was induced near the lowest energies and was accompanied by maintained flow in the target vessel. (iii) An intravascular clot evolved when an extravasated vessel was further irradiated. Such clots dramatically impaired blood flow in downstream vessels, in which speeds dropped to as low as approximately 10% of baseline values. This demonstrates that a single blockage to a microvessel can lead to local cortical ischemia. Lastly, we show that hemodilution leads to a restoration of flow in secondary downstream vessels.

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