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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54473. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054473. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

Method for quantitative study of airway functional microanatomy using micro-optical coherence tomography.

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Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.


We demonstrate the use of a high resolution form of optical coherence tomography, termed micro-OCT (μOCT), for investigating the functional microanatomy of airway epithelia. μOCT captures several key parameters governing the function of the airway surface (airway surface liquid depth, periciliary liquid depth, ciliary function including beat frequency, and mucociliary transport rate) from the same series of images and without exogenous particles or labels, enabling non-invasive study of dynamic phenomena. Additionally, the high resolution of μOCT reveals distinguishable phases of the ciliary stroke pattern and glandular extrusion. Images and functional measurements from primary human bronchial epithelial cell cultures and excised tissue are presented and compared with measurements using existing gold standard methods. Active secretion from mucus glands in tissue, a key parameter of epithelial function, was also observed and quantified.

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