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J Biomed Opt. 2011 Nov;16(11):116011. doi: 10.1117/1.3647597.

Multiphoton microscopy can visualize zonal damage and decreased cellular metabolic activity in hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats.

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The University of Queensland, School of Medicine, Woolloongabba, Queensland, 4102, Australia.


Ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury is a common occurrence in liver surgery. In orthotopic transplantation, the donor liver is exposed to periods of ischemia and when oxygenated blood is reintroduced to the liver, oxidative stress may develop and lead to graft failure. The aim of this project was to investigate whether noninvasive multiphoton and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy, without external markers, were useful in detecting early liver damage caused by I/R injury. Localized hepatic ischemia was induced in rats for 1 h followed by 4 h reperfusion. Multiphoton and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy was conducted prior to ischemia and up to 4 h of reperfusion and compared to morphological and biochemical assessment of liver damage. Liver function was significantly impaired at 2 and 4 h of reperfusion. Multiphoton microscopy detected liver damage at 1 h of reperfusion, manifested by vacuolated cells and heterogeneous spread of damage over the liver. The damage was mainly localized in the midzonal region of the liver acinus. In addition, fluorescence lifetime imaging showed a decrease in cellular metabolic activity. Multiphoton and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy detected evidence of early I/R injury both structurally and functionally. This provides a simple noninvasive technique useful for following progressive liver injury without external markers.

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