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Front Physiol. 2015 May 12;6:147. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2015.00147. eCollection 2015.

New techniques for motion-artifact-free in vivo cardiac microscopy.

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Center for Systems Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, MA, USA.
Center for Systems Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, MA, USA ; School of Electrical Engineering, Hanyang University Ansan, South Korea.


Intravital imaging microscopy (i.e., imaging in live animals at microscopic resolution) has become an indispensable tool for studying the cellular micro-dynamics in cancer, immunology and neurobiology. High spatial and temporal resolution, combined with large penetration depth and multi-reporter visualization capability make fluorescence intravital microscopy compelling for heart imaging. However, tissue motion caused by cardiac contraction and respiration critically limits its use. As a result, in vitro cell preparations or non-contracting explanted heart models are more commonly employed. Unfortunately, these approaches fall short of understanding the more complex host physiology that may be dynamic and occur over longer periods of time. In this review, we report on novel technologies, which have been recently developed by our group and others, aimed at overcoming motion-induced artifacts and capable of providing in vivo subcellular resolution imaging in the beating mouse heart. The methods are based on mechanical stabilization, image processing algorithms, gated/triggered acquisition schemes or a combination of both. We expect that in the immediate future all these methodologies will have considerable applications in expanding our understanding of the cardiac biology, elucidating cardiomyocyte function and interactions within the organism in vivo, and ultimately improving the treatment of cardiac diseases.


cardiac imaging; image stabilization; laser scanning microscopy; motion artifacts; motion compensation

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