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Nat Med. 2011 Jun 5;17(7):893-8. doi: 10.1038/nm.2394.

Simultaneous two-photon imaging of oxygen and blood flow in deep cerebral vessels.

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Institut National de Santé et de Recherche Médicale (INSERM), U603, Paris, France.


Uncovering principles that regulate energy metabolism in the brain requires mapping of partial pressure of oxygen (PO(2)) and blood flow with high spatial and temporal resolution. Using two-photon phosphorescence lifetime microscopy (2PLM) and the oxygen probe PtP-C343, we show that PO(2) can be accurately measured in the brain at depths up to 300 μm with micron-scale resolution. In addition, 2PLM allowed simultaneous measurements of blood flow and of PO(2) in capillaries with less than one-second temporal resolution. Using this approach, we detected erythrocyte-associated transients (EATs) in oxygen in the rat olfactory bulb and showed the existence of diffusion-based arterio-venous shunts. Sensory stimulation evoked functional hyperemia, accompanied by an increase in PO(2) in capillaries and by a biphasic PO(2) response in the neuropil, consisting of an 'initial dip' and a rebound. 2PLM of PO(2) opens new avenues for studies of brain metabolism and blood flow regulation.

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